Some cats prefer to have their kittens in out-of-the-way places where they are safe from predators. This is especially true of feral cats who have no families to provide for their safety and care. We recently heard of the story about a homeowner who heard meowing sounds coming from the walls of a house that had been abandoned. They hired a contractor to get to the heart of the matter and what he found pulled at the heartstrings. ACCT Philly shared the story about a group of 16 cats that had worked their way into the walls of an abandoned home. It took a contractor 8 hours to remove the walls and remove the cats from the inside. The rescue took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a long and grueling process. Care had to be taken to avoid hurting the animals who were trapped inside the walls. The contractor discovered that there were 7 kittens and 9 adult cats stuck within the walls. All but one of the kittens survived but their condition was less than optimal.
Quick action saved feline lives
The quick action and willingness to lend a helping hand were timely. Sadly, it was too late for one of the kittens, but the rest were removed from the walls and transported to the ACCT Philly shelter where they are receiving the medical care, food, water, and shelter that they so desperately need. The contractor is an animal lover and was happy to take the time to spare them from a horrible fate. Nobody has been able to figure out how the 16 cats got into the wall, but it appeared that they could not find their way out once they were inside.
What will happen to them now?
The shelter is working with the cats and kittens to nurse them back to health. Plans for the large group of felines are to begin socializing them to help each become healthy physically and emotionally, until the point that they are suitable for adoptions. The cats will be available to qualified applicants to go to their forever homes.
The plight of feral cats
The 15 cats found by the contractor in Philly were the fortunate ones. Many feral cats die horrible deaths or suffer terribly because they get into trouble and there is nobody around to help or to even care for them. The Smithsonian reported on the secret lives of feral cats and highlighted studies that have been conducted about the quality of the lives they live. Scientists hooked radio transmitters to several feral cats to track their movement in the Urbana, Illinois area. They discovered that these homeless cats make their own homes but some cats would cover areas of over two miles frequently. They tend to change their habitat throughout the various seasons, living in urban areas as well as in farmland and forests where they can find shelter from the elements and safety from predators. These cats are usually on the move more than cats who have homes. They tend to sleep during the day and hunt for food at night. They also tend to avoid people.
Out of 42 felines monitored, one cat with owners died in a catfight, two feral cats became the victims of coyotes, and several others died in fights with other cats. The feral cats have a higher risk of contracting diseases including feline leukemia, rabies, and becoming infested with parasites such as ticks, fleas, and various types of worms.
Varying opinions on the quality of life for feral cats
The ASPCA and the American Humane Society support Trap-Neuter-Return programs which capture feral cats, sterilize them, then return them to their previous environments. This helps to reduce the population of feral cats. These agencies maintain that most of these cats can live healthy lives on their own, and the spay and neutering help to minimize fighting behaviors. They support the program because it helps to control the rodent program in infested urban areas. PETA has a different opinion. They’re joined by some professional veterinarians who believe that the lives of feral cats are fraught with danger and constant threats. They believe that euthanization is more humane than forcing them to live on the streets and fend for themselves.
Can all feral cats be adopted?
Some feral cats that have been on their own for years have no desire to be around humans. Some are even afraid of them and view them as threats. It can be difficult to socialize a feral cat. While most can eventually be tamed and can learn to trust humans, some cannot change and would only present a danger to humans. This is a complicated issue that goes beyond the current resources available to deal with the problem of feral cats. There is no known solution other than showing kindness and saving those that can be saved.
The story about the contractor who spent 8 hours rescuing 15 cats trapped in a wall is an example of how we can in some small way, be a part of the solution to the problem. Instead of turning the surviving cats loose to fend for themselves, he made sure that they were taken to a humane and caring animal shelter for care, and hopefully later adoption. It’s not easy to determine whether the ASPCA, Humane Society, or PETA is correct in their beliefs about the humaneness of allowing these animals to live on their own. Some are against euthanization while others point out the fact that these felines tend to suffer greatly, and even die because they have nobody to help meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and medical attention. This is a debate that has no clear winner. Both sides have valid points. The 15 rescued cats, however, show us that we can all make a difference in the lives of homeless cats if we’re willing to go the extra mile by lending a helping hand.