Feral Cat Program
Lollypop Farm is proud to now offer assistance to our community members committed to helping feral and un-owned cats.
A feral cat is the ancestor or offspring of a domestic or pet cat. It lives permanently outside, is un-owned, and typically avoids human contact. This differs from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned but seeks companionship. The Feral Cat Program is available to individuals and organizations in our community who wish to address the mass overpopulation problem while also appreciating the life of a feral cat and their innate ability to survive.
Lollypop Farm has a goal that all cats in our community will have homes. One step in achieving this goal is working on behalf of the feral and un-owned cats. Lollypop Farm is assisting in the control of feral cat populations by endorsing the trapping of feral cats, and whenever possible, the use of Trap- Neuter- Release (TNR) Programs as our best option for aiding this population.
A TNR program involves humanely trapping a cat, spaying or neutering it, and returning the cat back to its home turf. Cats are trapped by the property-owners themselves, not by Lollypop Farm. Feral cats often live in colonies. Lollypop Farm will return a cat to a site that has a “colony caretaker,” or someone who is responsible for providing food, water, and basic shelter. Ongoing medical care is difficult to provide for feral cats, but we do expect caretakers to take appropriate steps if a cat is observed with a serious injury (such as a broken leg) or other severe medical condition.
Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Appointment:
For those interested in becoming a colony caretaker and helping out feral and un-owned cats, the clinic at Lollypop Farm is offering spay/neuter services. Through the Feral Cat Program, cats seen by the Lollypop Farm Clinic are spayed or neutered, given a rabies and distemper vaccine, and are ear-tipped to indicate that they have been surgically altered. The fee for these services is $55. You can also have the cat(s) tested for Feline Leukemia and given a de-worm and de-flea control for additional costs.
Please note that surgeries are done by appointment only. To make an appointment please call 585-223-1330 ext.173 or via email.
Feral Cat FAQs
Q. What is a feral cat?
A. Feral cats are "wild cats" that are the same species as the domestic cat that people have in their homes. Feral cats are not friendly. In fact, they are very afraid of humans and will avoid contact with people. When cornered, they can be aggressive. Feral cat populations usually begin when a non-spayed/neutered domesticated cat is abandoned by its owner. Cats can begin to have litters at 5-6 months old. The cats reproduce and the offspring are "feral", cats that have had little to no interaction with humans.
Q. What is a feral cat colony?
A. When several feral cats group together in a specific space they become a colony. Colonies are all over the Greater Rochester area and can be in backyards, behind restaurants, on college campuses and in trailer parks. Feral cats gather where there is a food source and some kind of shelter. Feral cats in a colony will continue to breed with one another and the population will continue to grow.
Q. Are feral cats dangerous to humans?
A. Feral cats are usually very afraid of people and will not come close and harm you. You can in fact tell that a cat is feral by that very characteristic. Feral cats will not come up to you seeking attention. If they have no escape route and are cornered, they can be aggressive.
Q. What about stray cats?
A. It is possible that a stray or "unowned" cat may end up living among a feral colony. A stray cat is one that has had the opportunity to interact with humans on a regular basis but is now no longer owned and cared for.
Q. What is Lollypop Farm doing?
A. Lollypop Farm has a goal that all cats in our community have homes. One step in achieving this goal is working on behalf of feral and unowned cats living in our community. Lollypop Farm is assisting in the control of feral cat populations by endorsing trapping of feral cats and, when possible, the use of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program as our most viable present options.
Q. What is TNR?
A. TNR is a program where feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered and then returned to their "home." In our program the cats are returned when there is a "colony caretaker" who has agreed to provide the cats with food, water, shelter and health care. They are brought to Lollypop Farm, spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, tested for feline leukemia and ear tipped (a small piece from their tip of their ear is removed during surgery) for tracking purposes. They are then returned to their colony.
Q. Why is it so important to spay/neuter cats?
A. There are many benefits to spay and neuter. First and foremost, we need to combat the overpopulation issue. There are just not enough homes for all of the cats in our community. Spay/neuter will decrease mating behavior like yowling, roaming and spraying!
Q. Do you ever euthanize the cats?
A. Every situation that we deal with is handled on a case-by-case basis. Often, feral cats are very ill and we believe that it is better for them to be humanely euthanized than to continue to suffer. Also, in the case where there is no “colony caretaker” we do not think it is humane to return them to an uncertain fate. Many people have the misconception that cats can “fend for themselves” but it is not true. Cats that are living on their own are susceptible to disease, starvation, predators, poisoning, abuse, cars and in Rochester, the very cold weather.
Q. Why can’t Lollypop Farm just take the cats in and put them up for adoption?
A. In some cases, we can and we do that as much as possible. If the cat has had a significant amount of interaction with humans or if they are young enough they may be adoptable. However, most feral cats have not had the socialization they need to interact with humans safely. They can be dangerous and it is very, very difficult to rehabilitate them. Lollypop Farm had 8,701 cats admitted in 2005 and as much as we would like to find a home for every cat we have to focus on the cats that are most adoptable.