Feline Colonies: Why should they be controlled?

Cats that live in cat colonies aren't usually vaccinated and they live in unhygienic conditions. They're carriers of contagious diseases for their own species and humans. 
Feline Colonies: Why should they be controlled?
Eugenio Fernández Suárez

Written and verified by the vet Eugenio Fernández Suárez.

Last update: 22 December, 2022

Even when they’re domesticated, cats only change their behavior very slightly from their relatives in the wild. That’s why feline colonies suddenly appear out of nowhere. When owners abandon their cats, they colonize the city.

This may seem like a good thing, despite the fact, their families have rejected them, they have found a home in the city. However, feline colonies are a haven for diseases for cats and other animals.

Feline colonies and diseases

There are many diseases that cats transmit among their species. This is especially true within feline colonies because they’re usually not vaccinated and live in poor hygienic conditions.

Some of these diseases such as calicivirus, feline immunodeficiency, feline leukemia or infectious peritonitis are very contagious and life threating.

Additionally, they can also transmit diseases to people like rabies. That’s why these colonies are a very important public health issue.

Stray cat living in a city

Feline colonies and wildlife

Strangely enough, the appearance of feline colonies is a natural occurrence. This likewise happens with urban boars. These animals are attracted to the cities where there’s food left behind for the feline colonies.

Similarly, invasive species like raccoons are also attracted to the food that left out for cat colonies or at the homes of domesticated cats. This is also dangerous for feline colonies and people.

But don’t they have the right to eat? Of course. But it’s important that if you care for and feed a feline colony, that you do it in a hygienic manner. Leave out two or three food bowls in order to prevent having issues among the animals. Also, be sure to remove the food before sunset. 

How to help feline colonies?

In addition to feeding these felines correctly without attracting wild animals, there are other ways to control and help feline colonies. 

Feline colonies like this one are normal in several cities

For years, people have tried poisoning and killing these animals. However, this is animal cruelty and it should be punishable by law. Capture, sterilization and release procedures are the perfect solution. 

So, animal activist and vets play an important role. The goal is to sterilize these animals in order to provide them with the right vaccines. 

However, you have to remember that controlling these animals is the responsibility of the government. You cannot put the responsibility on veterinarians, a profession with a lot of responsibility and low salaries (in several countries).

These animals are difficult to adopt because they’re feral. So their owners re-release them. Taking away the possibility of them reproducing keeps these colonies from growing.

However, the main reason why new cats appear in these colonies is due people abandoning domesticated cats. Even though the cats aren’t reproducing, owners are still abandoning their cats. So, there really isn’t a definite solution.

That’s why we have to raise awareness against irresponsibly adopting cats. Also, above all, people should choose adoption instead of compulsively purchasing these animals from breeders. 

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.