Feral cats haven’t chosen to be wild but were merely born in to this situation. There are a lot of differing opinions on the existence and make-up of dominance hierarchies within a feral colony. Various different types of hierarchies have been seen in feral colonies where the individual cat’s social status can change according to the activity they are involved in (i.e. mating or feeding), time of day as well as their location.
Feral cats can carry diseases such as campylobacter, giardiasis, rabies and toxoplasmosis which may be transferred to humans. These diseases are however usually transmitted through contact so if precautions are taken, they won’t be a likely risk. Other problems as well as complaints come from the nuisance factor posed by feral cats. This includes howling at night by tomcats, fighting with domesticated cats, spraying of urine to mark out their territory and digging in gardens to bury faeces.
If you don’t wish for the colony to grow, it is best not to feed them as they will procreate where a source of food is available. They will stay quite hidden from people and will not approach you, but some feral cats slowly become more trusting if they are fed regularly by humans.
Unfortunately, once they are taken to an animal shelter they are euthanized as they are not cuddly or friendly cats. The good news is that there are a number of community cat programs which organise sterilization of feral cats which reduces the population allowing them to live out their lives healthily.
Should you wish to get rid of feral cats on your property, bait a humane cat box trap which has a door, with sardines, tuna or cat food. The cat box should be placed in a spot where the cats usually eat. Once you have caught a cat, keep it in the box. They may growl, hiss or spit, strike out or even bare their teeth, so to calm it down, cover the box with a blanket.
The cat should now be taken to a veterinarian who can neuter/spay and then tag them. Quite a number of vets run programs where they still sterilize the cats for free as they are well aware that the population of feral cats are a known problem. Contact the veterinarians and animal shelters in your area to locate a suitable program.
Make it clear that you have a feral cat that requires neutering. A lot of the veterinarians will clip the ear of the cat which indicates that they have been caught and neutered already. Ensure that when you contact the vet that they are aware that it is a feral cat you are bringing in as they might not be prepared to deal with them.
There are a certain number of veterinary institutions that offer feral or semi-feral cats that have been spayed/neutered and vetted. This allows you to offer a second chance to a cat that would otherwise have had an unfortunate future.