Feral Cat FAQs

Feral Cat Frequently Asked Questions

What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is a cat that was born in the wild, is the offspring of an owned or feral cat that is not socialized, or is a formerly owned cat that has been abandoned and is no longer socialized. This differs from a community cat, which is a feral or free-roaming cat without visibly ID that has been sterilized, vaccinated, and either eartipped or microchipped. Community cats often have a caretaker who stands in the place of the cat’s owner and is responsible for daily feeding, watering and medical care. Community cats are exempt from licensing, feeding bans and registration requirements. All cats living outdoors will be considered feral until ownership or caretakership is verified.

Why do people trap feral cats?

Community members will trap feral cats to spay/neuter and vaccinate them so that they may be returned to live out their natural lives in their neighborhood under the watchful eye of their caretaker.

What does the law say about feral cats?

New Orleans animal laws are covered under Chapter 18 of the Orleans Parish Municipal Code. Our Humane Law & Rescue Team is responsible for enforcing these laws. If you live in another parish, be sure to check your parish’s animal laws!

What are the advantages of Trap-Neuter-Return?

TNR is a humane solution that keeps the well-being of the cat at the heart of the solution. It allows the cat to live out its natural life, while at the same time reducing those nuisance behaviors which often make cats unwelcome. These cats also provide natural pest control, are healthier and calmer.

Why can’t you remove feral cats from my yard?

The most obvious way to prevent mating is to keep your female pet confined during its fertile periods. 100% confinement is extremely difficult for males. Females may become pregnant only during their estrus or “heat” periods. These cycles usually occur twice a year in dogs and at least 2 or 3 times a year in cats. Many cats go into “heat” as often as once every 2 or 3 weeks during certain times of the year. Because they are capable of mating so often, confinement is not particularly convenient for pet owners. It also does nothing to eliminate accompanying problems, such as spotting, spraying, or susceptibility to uterine infection and breast cancer. Veterinary medical scientists are currently working to develop a pill or other convenient method of birth control, but such nonsurgical methods are not currently available in the United States. At present, other than confining your pet, the sure way to keep your pet from mating is to have it surgically spayed or neutered.

Where can I rent a cat trap?

We currently offer trap rentals at our New Orleans and Plaquemines Parish campuses, Jefferson Feed at 309 N. Carrollton Ave and 6047 Magazine St. Be sure to call ahead to make sure traps are available.

Trap rentals are free but we do require a security deposit that will be returned to you when you return the traps. $30 for 1 trap and $50 for 2-5.

How can I tell if a feral cat is already spayed/neutered?

The universal symbol for feral cat that has been through TNR is an ear-tip.

What do I do if I find a litter of kittens?

First, assess the age of the kittens. If their eyes are closed or they’re unable to walk or run, they will not be able to survive long without their mother. Next, determine whether or not the mama cat has truly abandoned the kittens. Mother cats need to hunt for their food, so it’s common for them to leave their kittens alone for hours at a time. If you catch sight of the mother cat within 12 hours, leave her and the litter where they are. Plan to wait approximately 4-8 weeks until the kittens weigh 2 pounds, and then TNR the mother and the kittens to prevent future births. For older kittens that are running easily, you can wait up to 24 hours before being certain the kittens are abandoned.

If you are certain that the kittens have been abandoned by their mother, you can bring them in to the Louisiana SPCA and surrender them to our care. Feral kittens under 12 weeks old usually socialize to humans quickly and become friendly and suitable to be indoor pets. Kittens too small for spay/neuter surgery will be eligible for the foster program where they will be placed in homes for weight gain and socialization. Once big enough, kittens will be sterilized and placed in our normal adoption program. 

What should I do if I see an injured or sick feral cat?

If the cat is in New Orleans, report it to Humane Law & Rescue team by calling 311. If it’s in another parish contact that parish’s animal control department.

Can you believe there are veterinarians across the country that have never seen a case of Heartworm disease before? Heartworm disease is rampant in the south and the Greater New Orleans region is no exception. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and heart of cats, dogs and other mammals. All cats and dogs are susceptible to infection. Heartworm disease is completely preventable and treatment is safe and inexpensive! Some treatment options include chewable tablets, topicals or injections.  The key is to provide Heartworm preventatives properly and on a timely schedule each month.

Online Pharmacy

Did you know you can order your pet’s medicine and have it delivered right to your door?

Did you know a $50 donation can provide annual vaccinations for a shelter dog?