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Rescue, Spay & Neuter, Provide Sanctuary!

 

Free Roaming Sanctuary

Let's Talk About "Feral" Cats

Feral Cat Myths

Free Roaming Cats Are Suffering

Consider this: Think of an animal that finds shelter, finds food, avoids people, avoids or fights off predators and is more likely to die from natural causes than by euthanasia at a vet's office.
Did you think of a free roaming cat?  Or did you think of a squirrel, raccoon, bald eagle, or white-tailed deer?  If living under these circumstances is inhumane, then one could argue that all wildlife is suffering.  Simply because free roaming cats have tame ancestors, does not mean they do not deserve to live or that their quality of life should be held to a higher standard.

The Double Standard

Many people and organizations set a different standard for free roaming cats than for other animals.  They argue that any cat is better off dead than a living a natural outdoor lifestyle.  For example, they contend that a car may hit a free roaming cat during its lifetime, therefore, a more humane approach is to trap and kill the cat before that happens.  If we expand that logic, we would need to kill every bird, mammal, fish, and insect - basically all life forms, to spare them the suffering of a natural lifestyle.  Why kill an animal living a natural lifestyle because it isn't living a lifestyle with people?

Human Companionship Essential?

Some people and organizations argue that any free roaming cat without a human home should be euthanized, regardless of health.  We emphatically disagree.  Simply because a cat came from a tame ancestor is no evidence that human companionship is necessary for a humane quality of life.  Lack of human contact or living without access to the inside of a human home is not justification for euthanasia.

Happy Tails

Saving Feline Lives and Taxpayer Money

City of Chico - May 2013

A Shelter Director's Evolution

Erie County SPCA - August 2012

Disneyland Finds Balance

LA Times - May 2013 

We chose to provide a sanctuary for these cats....

Cat Haven Ranch - Our Herd

The forgotten ones, the ferals and strays who did not have a choice in how they got where they are, but we have a choice in helping them.

Two of the most typical questions we get asked at Cat Haven Ranch is: what is a feral cat, and why let them roam free?
A feral cat is a term that has been used to describe a homeless cat that is undomesticated.  Many people confuse the term "Feral" with "Wild" or "Dangerous".  We consider "feral" to describe a particular behavior a cat expresses when it is not used to people or feels frightened.  It is virtually impossible to differentiate whether a frightened cat was born without human contact, formerly had human contact and became un-socialized from living on its own or if it is simply frightened.  Cat Haven Ranch chooses to call these cats free roaming and uses the term "feral" to describe a behavior a free roaming cat may convey.

Cat Haven Ranch is considered a free roaming cat colony.  A cat colony is a group of free roaming cats that live in close proximity to each other.  Cat Haven Ranch's colony is formed around the Meow Motel/Kitten Cabin, and the 6 dedicated feeding stations.

Our free roaming herd was formed from many different locations.  The source of free roaming cats is almost endless.  Our herd was built from shelters, abandoned at pet stores, local rescues, hoarders, newspaper ads, online sites, etc...  We try and intake as many free roaming cats as possible from the local/county animal shelters because of the high rate of euthanasia.  Sadly, each year shetlers receive more cats than they are able to adopt.  As a result, shelter employees must assess each cat to determine the probability of it being adopted.  Cats who express "feral" behavior are considered poor prospects and are euthanized, regardless of their age or health.  In most cases it is impossible to determine if a cat is simply frightened in a shelter environment or if it has lived without human ineraction.  In Northwest Arkansas, this stereotype unfortunately most often results in many frighetend tame cats being euthanized under the label of "feral".  We have many, many examples of this in our Herd Regulars.  These are cats that were part of intake program due to their "feral" nature at the local/county shelters.  Once they began to integrate into our herd, and our daily colony life, they quickly warmed up to us, and can be held, petted, played with the same as a typical domestic house cat.Cat Haven Ranch - Our Free Roaming Friends

Can a free roaming cat bond with it's human colony caretakers?  100% absolutely.  Our full time volunteers have bonded with all the Herd Regulars, and they have bonded with the volunteers.  Our cats know their feeding schedules, and their treat locations, as well as the daily routine schedule.  They will wait at the Meow Motel every day, within 10-15 minutes of their normal feeding time.  We do have a few that will only come down the valley as we call out everyday during feeding.  They wait for that particular noise, then they appear from their hiding spots.