Feral Cat Care Bloemfontein (South Africa) successfully completes their Grant Project
Feral Cat Care Bloemfontein received an Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant for their project, "Trap, neuter, return, veterinarian care and feeding of community cats in Bloemfontein, South Africa." The grant supported the spaying and feeding "of these unfortunate community cats that no one was willing to support." From August through November, FCC TNR'd 140 female cats. At AKI's request, FCC agreed to use AKI funds for female cats only-as the quickest way to decrease the feral cat population in an area.
FCC explained the problem: "There is a huge over-population of community cats in our Bloemfontein area. Many of the cats are abandoned pets or the offspring of those cats. They have limited human contact and mostly hide or watch humans from a distance. The AKI grant is so important for the care and feeding of cats that might be viewed as nuisances near public buildings."
For greater security and for better food prospects, the cats gather at the local hospital, police station, army base, elder care homes, and farms around Bloemfontein. Therefore, FCC focused on these areas.
FCC's Marieke and Christelle did the hard work of trapping the felines and transporting them to the vet. Once TNR'd, FCC monitors the colonies to be sure that the cats are fed and the population isn't increasing-warranting further TNR.
Over the 3 1/2 month period, cats were TNR'd at:
Tempe Military Base
The Tempe Military Base in Bloemfontein is large and the feral cats are many (more than 300 cats). FCC sterilized 20 feral female cats on the army base, which is already making a difference in the feral cat population--and is a great beginning to demonstrate how TNR can be so helpful. TNR will have to be continued on these premises. FCC hopes to have a controlled colony within the next few years--this is a big project!
Bainsvlei Police station
More than 40 cats live at the Bainsvlei Police Station. FCC sterilized 17 female cats with the grant money from Animal-Kind International. People who had previously fed the cats there have retired, so FCC arranged a feeding program, with a set of new helpers, for the feral colony. Over the grant period, the cats at the police station were fed twice a week with funding from the AKI grant. FCC expects that it will take another year or two to reach a controlled colony.
A colony of 15 community/feral cats live at an auto-electronic business in Bloemfontein. The colony produced a continuous stream of kittens that one of the workers would catch and brought to FCC to be fostered and then adopted. FCC offered to sterilize the community cats rather than have them continue to produce unwanted kittens. With the grant from AKI, 8 female cats were sterilized. Upon asking the workers about the growth of the colony, they assured FCC that the colony has remained stable. They now have a controlled colony that FCC is monitoring with the help of the workers.
Transnet: the railways
Seven cats were TNR'd at Transnet.
Old Age Homes
26 cats were TNR'd at three old age homes at Wilgehof, Brandwag, and Universitas. Many of these cats were pets that residents released because they were unable to care for them; or they are feral offspring of pets.
The National Hospital
12 cats were TNR'd at the National Hospital.
41feral cats were TNR'd at farming areas in Bainsvlei, Bloemspruit, Groenvlei, and Ferreira.
FCC faced a couple of problems during the grant period. The State Veterinarians were unable to help during some weeks due to foot and mouth disease outreach activities, which kept them too busy to spay feral cats. As soon as feral cats are trapped, they need to be brought for spay and then released as quickly as possible to minimize stress. FCC was unable to wait for the State Vets to become available. Also, due to bad weather in November, FCC was able to conduct TNR on only one day that month, but by then, they had largely completed the grant and expended the funds.
More about Feral Cat Care Bloemfontein
Feral Cat Care helps companies in Bloemfontein to maintain their cat colonies via TNR, with the aim of reducing the overall feral cat population. They also ensure that a feeding program exists for each community cat colony. And they foster kittens from birth (if needed) until 8 weeks of age and find loving homes for them.
FCC started operating in 2015/2016 by managing the feral cat programme of the University of the Free State, overseeing the campus feral cat populations living on the Bloemfontein campus. The programme was endorsed in 2016 by the University of the Free State’s management.
At the university campus, FCC TNR'd 73 cats in 2016, 63 in 2017, 34 in 2018, and 40 in 2019. Due to the success of that programme, FCC began helping companies in Bloemfontein to maintain their feral cat colonies. FCC acknowledges that TNR is the best way to reduce suffering and save lives, and along with their feeding and monitoring activities, the feral cats have a minimal impact on the environment-they are less likely to kill birds and other wildlife when they are receiving regular (and easily obtainable) food. FCC would like to expand their services to other towns in the area in the future.