The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are as many as 50 million feral cats in this country. Feral cats are different from strays, in that they have had little to no human contact, are not spayed or neutered, and are likely not socialized, while a stray may have been someone’s lost or abandoned pet.
But that doesn’t mean that ferals are lost causes. In fact, while “Trap Neuter Release” programs (TNR) are vital to controlling the feral cat population by reducing the number of new litters, there are also many animal rescuers who have successfully socialized these cats, and placed them in loving forever homes.
One such expert, is Joan Phillips, Founder of the Animal Lovers League in Glen Cove, Long Island. According to Phillips, the older the cat, and the less human contact they’ve had, the more challenging socialization will be. “The cats that have been socialized more easily are the ones that have been used to having a caretaker who is at least came to feed them. But socialization is a question of patience and time”, says Phillips, “If you have the patience and the time, anything can be achieved”.
One feral kitten Joan is working with, is Bridget, given that name because of her dramatic rescue from near the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan. She was humanely trapped by 1010WINS News Anchor Susan Richard along with the help of the Humane Society of New York. Susan has the story in the latest edition of All For Animals.