The problem of stray and feral cats has been well known for years, in our area in and many others across Ontario. This page contains a number of resources to learn more about the issue, and how people can help.
Watch this space for resources and information as we continue to update it.
What is a "feral" cat?
A feral cat is a domestic feline that was born outdoors, and has had little to no contact with humans. They are wild animals, and are rarely seen, keeping to the shadows and underbrush, hunting for their food, and surviving on their own.
A stray cat, on the other hand, is a formerly domestic feline who has lived with humans at some point in the past. They can "turn feral" over time as the needs of survival dictate. They can ultimately be as wild as their feral counterparts. Kittens born to stray cats are feral from birth.
There is some debate in animal welfare circles as to whether a feral cat can ever become socialized enough to ever live with humans again. The Cats of Paint Lake intends to make every effort to assess the needs of each animal, socialize those that show signs of being capable of it, and placing the truly feral ones in situations where they can be cared for, monitored, and where the impact they have on wildlife and the environment is minimized.
How big is the problem?
Studies have been undertaken to address the stray and feral cat problem, cat overpopulation, euthanasia rates, and solutions that have been attempted.
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies 2012 report Cats in Canada called this a "Cat Overpopulation Crisis". There are many success stories, and we are learning from those to model our approach to the problem in our region. But it will take a community effort to address it.