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  • Trap, Neuter, Return

    We run a Trap, Neuter, Return programme for feral cats to help control and contain the local cat population

    There are thousands of feral cats living in hidden spots.

    It’s a growing problem as feral, unneutered females are able to reproduce from just five months old and will have two or three litters a year. Without reproduction control, the feral cat population will rapidly expand.

    What is Trap, Neuter, Return?

    Our Animal Welfare Officers run a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programme for feral cats in our local area to help control and contain the cat population. There are many cat colonies in London and it is important that they are neutered to prevent further breeding and health checked to prevent the spread of diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). Our Animal Welfare Officers respond to calls from the general public, trapping the cats on location to bring them back to Mayhew for neutering and health checks. Feral cats have different needs to their domestic relations and it’s important that these needs are taken into consideration by our experienced teams. The cats are then released back to their colony location, providing the area is suitable and a safe environment for them.

    They will then re-release the neutered adult cats back to their colony location, providing the area is suitable and a safe environment for them. If you’re concerned that you may have a colony of feral cats in your area, please email our Animal Welfare Officers at or call them on 020 8962 8000.

    How to spot a feral cat?

    Whilst the term ‘feral cat’ brings to mind images of hissing, spitting, wild looking cats, they are very indistinguishable from domestic cats. It’s their behaviour that tends to be the give-away. A stray or abandoned cat will often not shy away from people, whereas a feral cat is fearful of people and so tends to keep a distance. A feral cat will not allow itself to be touched or handled by a person. They can never be tame, and will suffer a great deal if forced to live inside. If a cat is feral, the most compassionate option is to keep it feral – trying to tame a feral and bring it indoors will only cause undue stress and harm to the cat’s health and mental well-being.

    Feral colonies

    Feral cats often live in colonies, within close proximity to food sources and shelter. Some colonies can become ‘semi-feral’ if someone is putting out food, and the cats will sometimes become accustomed to the presence of the feeder. They will, however, remain fearful of humans, keep their distance and remain untamed.

    Most of these colonies originate from stray cats that have not been neutered. However, if the colony is controlled (neutered), healthy and stable, it will deter other feral cats from moving in and will also keep vermin levels down.