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Raymore Animal Control works to give feral cats a second chance at life, curb reproduction

Post Date:09/15/2017 10:49 a.m.

RAYMORE, MO - Residents who care about cats, wildlife and public health are invited to pull together to implement humane and practical approaches to reducing the number of unowned (feral) cats in our community.

feralcat-sidebar.pngRecently, Raymore has seen a spike in the number of feral cat colonies popping up throughout the City. In recent years, Raymore Animal Control averaged one or two feral litter relocations per year, but have had more than 10 reports of feral colonies in 2017.  We suspect there may be more feral colonies not being reported by residents who fear the cats will be euthanized if captured.

Feral cats and stray cats are two very different types of cats.

A stray cat had a home at one time until it was either lost or abandoned by its owner. Most stray cats remember that people feed them and will hang around homes and other areas where people are present.

While it is usually fairly easy to acclimate a stray to being a pet again, a stray cat left on its own for long enough may become feral. When Raymore Animal Control picks up a stray, concerted efforts are made to return the cat to its owner or adopt it into a safe and loving new home.

On the other hand, feral cats are born on the streets or in the wild and have experienced little to no human interaction. By all definitions, these cats are wild animals and often have a very rough life, normally surviving only two years on their own.

Without human interaction or intervention at a very young age, a feral cat will most likely stay wild and runs the risk of spreading disease to people and our pets.

Of course, a feral cat breeds and produces more feral cats. Feral cats are not aggressive, but may run or hide if they sense possible danger.  It takes our Animal Control Officers far more time and resources to safely trap a wild colony of ferals, transport the animals to Spay Neuter KC- the only clinic that offers these services locally- to sterilize and vaccinate each cat and kitten per Missouri state law and then transport the cats back to the shelter and care for them while finding appropriate placement.

Raymore Animal Control is dedicated to using humane, effective practices to reduce the feral cat population in our area, but capturing, caring for and adopting out every feral cat in our area is extremely time consuming and expensive.

However, it is possible, with a little work and time, to turn a feral cat into a successful barn cat who will earn his or her keep by controlling the rodent population in the outbuildings of our rural areas.

And with some more time, a feral cat may be able to join a family as a house cat, though this takes a lot of patience and dedication from the right person or family.

Our very own Raymore Police Chief Jan Zimmerman rescued a feral from the shelter a few years ago. Sophie was the last remaining cat from a litter that had been adopted out as barn cats. Sophie was so terrified that the animal control officers couldn’t get her out of the kennel without wearing the big leather glove.

Every night after work, Zimmerman would lay on the floor with arms outstretched toward the scared cat hiding under the bed. After three weeks, Sophie finally came out and nosed her. Trust had been established and Zimmerman says that while any contact is truly on Sophie’s terms, she’ll lay on Zimmerman’s lap and is by far her favorite pet. (Don’t worry, Chief, we won’t share this confession with Darla, your other adopted cat!)

“Love from Sophie was hard fought. It took me a lot to win her over, but the payoff is so worth it,” Zimmerman said.

It is possible to give these animals a second chance at life with the right resources, while curbing reproduction.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful following on our Facebook page of more than 3,000 supporters!  Our followers are animal advocates who share our stories, adopt our homeless animals and provide donations that allow us to do our job more effectively.

How many of you might already feed and provide basic care to cats you don’t even own?  How many of you support humane cat programs because they align with your values?  We already appreciate the positive feedback and see that many of our residents are on board to work with us and our our efforts to sterilize and relocate feral cats.

We need an even larger network of support and engagement to meet our shared goal of the effective reduction in the number of unowned, outdoor feral cats in Raymore through humane practices, rather than euthanasia.

How can you help?

  • Spay and neuter your cats!

  • Follow us on Facebook and share our posts when we’re in desperate need of homes for barn cats and homeless strays. Encourage your friends and family to share as well- we know the perfect caregiver is out there somewhere!

  • Donate cat and kitten food and cleaning items to the shelter for care of these animals. Our full donation list and link to our Amazon wish list can be found on our Animal Control webpage.

  • Donate to sponsor the cost of spay/neuter and rabies vaccinations:

  • Cash/card donations are accepted at the Raymore Animal Shelter, 1023 S Madison St., Raymore

  • Donate in person at the City Hall Utility Office or make a donation over the phone by calling 816-331-5182 

  •  Set up a one-time or recurring non-metered donation to the Animal Shelter through your utility bill by calling 816-331-5182

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