Controlling feral cat colonies is essential
The subject of feral cats is a very sensitive one, which sparks much debate. People are either all for having the cats around or dead against them. There is no middle ground.
But this is where Project Feral Cat (PFC) comes in.
The NPO was set up by a cat-loving Richards Bay resident who, through her good works, is not only helping to keep the city’s feral cat colonies under control, but is also attempting to educate people about feral cat colonies.
Contrary to popular belief, exterminating a colony of feral cats will by no means do away with the problem.
It will make it worse, because other feral cats will simply fill the gap created by the extermination, and start breeding, creating the same problem again.
The gestation period of a cat is between 58 and 67 days, and a female cat can become pregnant at just four months of age.
But what is perhaps more scary is that a female cat can become pregnant again very soon after giving birth.
So, keeping colonies under control through sterilisation is crucial.
But where do you start? By nature, feral cats are virtually impossible to catch, let alone get to the vet for sterilisation.
PFC offers a service of humanely trapping, sterilising and re-releasing feral cats, and has cultivated a good working relationship with local vets.
But to carry out this work, the organisation requires funding from residents and businesses willing to sponsor sterilisation campaigns for the cat colonies that have made a home on their premises.
Apart from her day job, PFC founder Heilke Ackerman spends much of her time fund-raising and appealing for sponsorship.
The rest of her time she gets her hands dirty by actively taking part in sterilisation campaigns.
Some corporates in Richards Bay and surrounds have come on board by sponsoring campaigns for the cats on their premises, but there are so many more colonies that need to be done.
Feral cats are not one person’s responsibility, but it is up to all of us to contribute to keeping these colonies, which can quickly become pests, under control through sterilisation.
This is a project we all should sponsor and so contribute collectively to controlling an issue affecting us all.