We know that we talk to you quite often about our colonies and every once in a while we like to provide an article that will explain just what a colony is.
It’s a group of cats that live outside, usually through no fault of their own. They have their own hierarchy and very rarely allow other cats to join their colony. So if you have a colony of cats living in your area and a rescue group sees to their care, then chances are you won’t see any huge population explosion. They have probably all been spayed and neutered.
Some rescue groups only do spay/neuter and get the cats back out into their colony but the Cat Connection tries to find as many forever homes as possible. If they are friendly, then they should have a chance at a forever home.
One example is a local college that let out at the end of the year and as the students left, they took the cats that they had gotten to have for pets, and just left them out in the neighborhood outside the college. Soon, 8 cats became 38 cats and kittens.
Luckily, someone had become aware of the cats and began feeding them and then called the Cat Connection. We were able to get them all in time and find homes for them, but it could have gone worse if the person had not contacted a rescue organization as quickly as they did. In that case we were able to achieve zero population and stop a new colony from happening, but that almost never happens. If 8 can become 38 in one mating, think of how many more could have been born in the next round!
Most of the time, before anyone even knows there are cats, things are well underway. So we go out, trap, neuter, find forever homes, and release the cats that are truly feral back into their colony area, and maintain them on a daily basis. We feed them and keep an eye out for any health issues that may arise. If a volunteer notices that one of them might need medical care then we trap them again and get them taken care of.
We also have volunteers who build warm houses with special entry ways to help protect the cats from predators and the cold. It’s not a straight in entry; it sort of winds around into the warm house. Straw helps to keep them warm and comfy in the cold weather. In the winter, feeding our colony kitties also means that volunteers might have to shovel a path through the snow just to get to them.
We are always looking for people to help, so if you are interested all you have to do is fill out a volunteer application. Tell us that you would like to do colony support and someone will be in touch. You don’t have to do it every day. Just choose a day and we will match you up with a job. It could be once a week or whatever you can manage. We also need help shoveling after a snowstorm so that we can get to the cats’ feeding area and shelter. So if you can, help us maintain and care for these special cats, who deserve to be healthy and happy and safe just as much as any pet cat.