Secret Cat Business by Jessica McColl

Time to fess up. Do you have a secret cat?

Statistics show that the majority of companion cats in Australia are desexed (go us!) however, studies also show that as many as 40% of Australians are currently feeding a cat, or cats, that do not belong to them. These cats may be wild, friendly strays or simply down on their luck and fall into the category of community/colony cats.

If you remember my previous post (Coolest Cats on Campus), while I was studying at art school we also had our own community cats born of a seemingly feral mum (who is currently a loving house-cat I may add).  

Despite the criticism it does not contribute to the ‘problem’ of stray cats. However, if you are a feeding a secret cat, here are a few things to consider:

·         Is the cat really homeless? Cats are funny creatures in that they will often ‘choose’ their own home. If they decide the neighbours’ place down the road is more for them, they may be playing the stray card. They may also simply not know how to get back home. So if puss is friendly, perhaps ask the neighbours if they know anything about it.

·         Get puss scanned to see if she has been micro chipped. You don’t necessarily need to go to the vet or the animal shelter to do this. Some people will come to your house with their micro chip scanner. You may need to have a bit of a google to find one in your area. Facebook is also a good place to find them especially on the area specific lost/found pets pages.

·         Check the relevant legislation in regards to the keeping of companion animals. Each State, Territory and council area may have different rules. You really need to know exactly where you stand.

·         Take them to be desexed….If you are sure that puss is homeless. You may need to hire trap if puss isn’t the most friendly (you can hire human traps from the council, RSPCA, some vets and even some rescue groups).  Have a look for places that offer discount desexing, cat rescue groups are an invaluable resource here – this is crucial for both male and female cats not only for their own health but also to prevent your single cat turning into a colony or your colony becoming unmanageable. You may even want to have the cat vaccinated and micro chipped to you while you are there. This will help keep them out of the pound, which is obviously the reason you started feeding them in the first place.

You may want to link up with some like-minded people, if so you can join the Secret Cat Society (http://www.communitycats.com.au/).

Share pictures of your secret cat/s below!