Feral Cat Program at The Spa
Beaufort County has chosen to implement at Feral Cat Program as part of an effort to create balance in our eco system. The eco system on the Island needs cats. Ferel cats and wild cats are not the same. Wild cats are not cared for in any way. They carry diseases, reproduce quickly and can be vicious. Ferel cats are part of a program where cats are neutered/spayed and chipped. They are immunized and monitored. If they become unhealthy, they are removed. The food they are given is high in nutrition but kept minimal so that they do not stop hunting food. Hunting rodents and reptiles is what they do to keep our eco system in balance. These cats are not domesticated. They fear and usually avoid humans but they can easily become socialized by humans who feed them and pet them.
Generally, undomesticated cats live in colonies (usually about 7-9 per colony.) We have many colonies of cats on our Island including locations all around our property. If one colony gets small or disappears, wild cats will move into that territory for better hunting. Feral cats on a property protects from having wild cats colonize on the property.
Since the 90’s the Spa has tried different things to control the cats population on our property. According to Sam Einfeldt, a long-term owner and former board member, we once caught and removed 45 cats! According to Michael, our General Manager, The Spa participated in a County “catch, remove and take to a shelter” program for a few years. According to both Sam and Michael, over time new cats would colonize on our property. These cats were wild. They were disease prone and multiplied quickly. Also, each time the cats were removed the Spa developed a mice and snake problem. According to Michael, this was a big problem during the “catch, remove and take to a shelter” era.
It was around 2015 when the Spa decided to become a part of the Ferel Cat Program because we need cats to control the mice and snake population and with the Ferel Cat Program, the cats are spayed/neutered, immunized and fed enough high nutritious food to keep them healthy but not enough food to keep them from hunting. As the cats age, they die and since no new kittens are born, the population decreases. Ferel cats on average live around 7 years. When we entered the program, we had 35 cats caught, spayed/neutered, immunized, clipped and returned to our property. We now have 15 documented cats.
We cannot remove the cats on our property because they are a part of Beaufort County’s Ferel Cat Program. They are protected by a county ordinance. Nor would it be in our best interest to remove them. If we remove them, we will have more mice and snakes and over time, wild cats will colonize on our property.
It is imperative that NO one feeds these cats.
Feeding the cats endangers their lives! Volunteers with this program provide a minimum daily feeding of highly nutritious food that keeps the cats healthy without providing enough food to prevent the cats from hunting. When these cats stop hunting our rodent and reptile population increases! The increase in the rodents and reptiles attracts other animals including wild cats onto our property. Owners and guest feeding our ferel cats will increase the number of cats we have on the property. It also socializes the cats so that they hang around our property – on cars, walkways, balconies - creating a nuisance. Human food upsets their digestive systems which increases the likelihood of feces and vomit in our parking lot, walk ways and balconies. PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE CATS!!!
Please inform your guest, tenants and vacation renters not to feed the cats.
Claudia Kennedy, the founder of a non-profit organization, owns the property adjacent to our property. Her cats are not a part of our cat colonies. Although, one of her volunteers does fill the daily nutrition feeders on our property.
For more information go to: https://www.alleycat.org/