Myths & Facts

Myths & Facts about Free-Roaming Cats

Myth:  Take the cats to the shelter so they can find a good home.

Fact:  72% of all cats coming into shelters nationwide are euthanized; only 23% are adopted.  Just 2% are reunited with their owners. Most feral cats entering municipal shelters nationwide will be euthanized.

Note: Some municipal  shelters are working to reduce their kill rate and are accomplishing this through new policies and programs. Some of these programs remain very controversial amongst rescue groups.

Myth:  Free roaming cats are wild animals.

Fact:  Calling these cats wild is a misnomer.  They are homeless, domestic animals who have no choice but to survive “in the wild.”

Myth:  Free roaming cats attack humans.

Fact:  Free roaming cats are afraid of humans and will run from them.  You are only in danger of being bitten or scratched if you try to corner one.

Myth:  The cats will go away if you stop feeding them.

Fact:  Cats are very attached to their neighborhoods.  If people stop feeding the cats, they will not move away. They can survive for weeks without food and they will continue to reproduce, encroaching closer to humans.

Myth:  Feral cats are diseased and have rabies.

Fact:  Cats can occasionally be the victims of rabies, but they are not the cause.  In Arizona bats are the most commonly affected species. The last documented case of rabies in a cat in Maricopa County was in 1982. The case was vaccine-associated - this is, the disease was caused by the rabies vaccine given to the cat. Cats consistently account for only 2 to 4 percent of all reported rabies cases in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC).  Cats in managed colonies are checked and vaccinated by veterinarians.  

Myth:  It is easier to eradicate a colony by trapping and killing.  

Fact:  Eradication has never been an effective way to control any animal population.  When animals are removed from a location, new animals move in to take advantage of the food source.  This is called the “vacuum effect.”

                           If you are feeding feral or stray cats that you cannot catch, please call:

                                                             THE SPAY NEUTER HOTLINE
                                                                   602-265-SPAY (7729)



                                                                      ALTERED TAILS
                                                                       (602) 943-7729

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