Since moving here we have been fighting the good fight to trap, neuter (or spay) and then release the feral cats that live up here. In the first couple of years we were very successful (including getting four kittens out of the feral system,) but in the last two years we’ve managed only one success. Instead of catching the undocked feral cats we’ve seen skulking about, we’ve caught already TNR’d ferals, the neighbors’ cats, or skunks.
The good news is that I have a perfect success rate when it comes to getting a skunk out of a trap without it spraying me — I’ve had to do it close to a dozen times. It just take patience and a kindly nature. It also helps to not giggle when they sniff your feet and end up tickling you.
The downside of this lack of success is that I’ve given Agent Smith the go-ahead to take out undocked ferals if he has a clear shot and I will probably start doing the same. And before the animal lovers reading this get all angry, please note “In the U.S. alone, outdoor cats kill 2.4 billion birds every year which may seem unbelievable but it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats.” – American Bird Conservancy
We have natural predators such as the hawks, owls, coyotes and snakes to take care of most of the pests up here and cats, specifically feral ones are simply unwelcome murders who eat too many of our birds. Plus it’s actually something we’re legally permitted to do since we live in a rural/semi-rural area. I’m sure people who read this will think we are heartless murderers, but a clear single shot to take out a human-made problem has become a more palatable solution to curtail the frequent pile of feathers we often find under shrubs and trees. I will continue to try to trap and TNR, but we’ve come to the conclusion that alone doesn’t work.
This write up from the wild bird supply store I frequent is a good read for what you can do to help minimize the murder: http://www.losgatosbirdwatcher.com/downloads/tips/covid_version/cats-birds_web_covid.pdf