|Purred: Fri Apr 17, '09 2:20am PST |
|Feral cats may live alone, but most are found in large groups called feral colonies with communal nurseries, depending on resource availability. Most abandoned cats probably have little alternative to joining a feral colony. Some feral cat colonies are found in large cities such as around the Colosseum and Forum Romanum in Rome. The Roman cats are not truly feral because they are partly fed and vetted by the local authority. Because cats are adaptable, those in residential areas know that if they are friendly to humans they need not worry about food or shelter. Some urban "stray" cats have many houses/humans to support them.
Although cats are adaptable, feral felines are unable to thrive in extreme cold and heat, and with a very high protein requirement, few find adequate nutrition on their own in cities. They are often killed by dogs, coyotes, and automobiles. However, there are thousands of volunteers and organizations that trap these unadoptable feral felines, neutering them, immunize the cats against rabies and feline leukemia, and treat them with long-lasting flea products. Before release back into their feral colonies, the attending veterinarian often nips the tip off one ear to mark the feral as neutered and inoculated, since these cats will more than likely find themselves trapped again. Volunteers continue to feed and give care to these cats throughout their lives, and not only is their lifespan greatly increased, but behavior and nuisance problems, due to competition for food, are also greatly reduced.
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