FERAL CAT FOCUS WINTER TRAPPING POLICY
Feral Cat FOCUS does not support winter Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) in Western New York because our winters can be severe and temperatures can be in the teens (or below). We know that other areas of the country support winter TNVR, but their winters are not our winters with freezing temps and several feet of snow.
During winter you cannot safely trap and keep feral/free-roaming cats warm enough to heal properly after spay/neuter surgery. These cats are already struggling to stay alive and Feral Cat FOCUS will not put one more obstacle in their way. We believe that fall is the best time to do major TNVR trapping. The biggest reproduction time is over, there are fewer moms with kittens, there are fewer pregnant cats to be spayed, and spring and summer litters can be altered before mating. Some litters might get away from us, but what do we do? Sacrifice the health of the female to save kittens that might be born?
Think of it this way: A cat that just had surgery is put out in the freezing cold with an incision and a shaved tummy with no fur to protect her from the cold. She is exposed to the elements. She may not have a warm dry shelter. She has to forge through a foot or more of snow to return to her colony. She has to find a food source in a snow storm. This would be cruel to do to a cat already struggling to survive a Western New York winter.
In the spring Feral Cat FOCUS will kick into high gear and begin spaying/neutering feral and free-roaming cats. We normally start scheduling surgery appointments mid-late March (depending on weather). Reservations are required. Never trap before you have an appointment (you don’t want to trap cats and then have nowhere to take them).
DURING WINTER MONTHS FERAL CAT FOCUS ENCOURAGES CAREGIVERS TO…
Provide warm dry shelter. Feral cats typically build a protective coat for winter, but the effectiveness of their fur as insulation is greatly reduced if it becomes wet or frozen and can often times result in hypothermia. Feral cats can get frostbite on their ears, nose and paws. They can die from exposure if some protection from the elements is not available.
WINTER SHELTER TIPS
Provide extra food during and fresh water. Increase food portions to help cats conserve energy and stay warm. These cats will need extra calories to maintain energy levels. Do your best to keep food from freezing. Wet food freezes, so put out dry food as well (or just feed dry food).
WINTER WEATHER TIPS