Myth: Feral cats carry diseases such as rabies.
Fact: Cats can occasionally be the victims of rabies, but they are not the cause. There has not been a single confirmed human case of rabies transmitted from a cat in over 40 years. Thankfully, the rabies virus is not a major threat in the United States as the CDC reports that there has only been 34 reported cases of rabies in humans since 2003. Futhermore, today’s treatment for rabies in humans has proven to be nearly 100 percent effective. TNVR programs vaccinate feral cats against rabies, thus eliminating even the extremely small risk they currently have of contracting rabies.
Another disease others are concerned about is Toxoplasmosis. A July 15, 2000 British Medical Journal article stated, “contact with cats, kittens, cats’ feces, or cats who hunt for food was NOT a risk factor for infection.” The article said: “No significant associations were detected between infection and presence of cats (whether adults or kittens), the diet and hunting habits of the cats, or cleaning a cat’s litter tray.” The study concluded that the primary risk for getting Toxoplasmosis is eating undercooked meat.
The Stanford University Department of Environmental Health and Safety, working with the Stanford University Department of Comparative Medicine and the Santa Clara County Health Department, found that there was a general consensus that feral cats pose virtually no health and safety risk to individuals.
Myth: Feral cats have a harsh life. The humane solution is to trap and kill them to prevent them from possible future suffering.
Fact: Millions of feral cats are fed by kind people. Others find food for themselves. The average lifespan of a feral cat is estimated to be around 10 years. Incidence of feline leukemia and FIV is no higher in feral cats than in owned cats. At Forgotten Cats, we see many outdoor cats. While a few of them lead hard lives, most of them are pleasantly plump and healthy! Most feral cats we see are full of life and eager to return to their homes when we release them.
Myth: Feral Cats are the cause of wildlife decline.
Fact: Humans are the number one threat to wildlife. Visit this page for more information:
For more information on feral cats, please visit alleycat.org.