She’s lived outside for four years.
She’s not homeless.

The truth is, she has a home. And while it may not be inside four walls, she's living a valued life.

Thousands of feral (wild) cats exist precar- iously in alleys, tunnels, deserted build- ings, and under bridges in every major city.  Others form colonies in parking lots or fields, in ditches and in woodlands, subsisting on rodents and garbage, enduring cold and snow, heat and filth until starvation, infection, accident, or attacks by dogs ends their pitifully short lives. About half of the kittens born outdoors succumb to disease, exposure, or parasites and fleas in their first year.


In spite of the hazards, feral populations can quickly grow out of control. Since a female cat bears two or three litters a year, a single pair and their offspring can easily turn into a colony of thirty or forty in just two years.  When their numbers become problematic and people start to complain about the yowling and spraying, the cats are often  rounded up and killed by the local animal control agency.

Because of the many threats to their survival, feral cats race through all nine of their lives more quickly than their pampered indoor cousins. Their toughness- a cat can survive for weeks without food- means that their suffering can be quite prolonged  Their wretched existence breaks our hearts.  Seeing them, any animal lover longs to help.

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But three big obstacles stand in the way.  First and foremost, these are wild animals we are talking about and they already have what they consider to be a very fine home-a familiar territory with a living space they have carved out for themselves with their mate and children and their own familiar circle of friends and relations who make up their colony.  To a cat, familiarity breeds contentment. The last thing they want is a strange new home.

Second, wild animals are not suitable as house pets. Feral cats, almost by definition, will not allow anyone to touch them. Adjustment to life in a house or apartment can take months or even years-if they adjust at all. Such cats frequently live out their lives hiding under beds or in the back of closets. If a cat is not really a feral, but a stray with memories of living with humans in the past, or if a feral kitten begins the process of socialization when very young, sometimes patience, love, patience, and more patience can succeed.

The third, and greatest, obstacle is that we are dealing with millions of cats nationwide.  There simply aren't enough homes for them. Every year, several million sweet, loving, intelligent, beautiful, healthy cats are destroyed by shelters simply because nobody wants them.   Most people will look to this vast pool of ideal pets rather than try to tame a feral cat who doesn't want to be tamed in the first place. Adopting a feral is seldom the best course of action for either the cat or the prospective owner.

But take heart! There’s a solution for feral cats that works. A solution that not only reduces feral cat populations, but also improves the lives of feral cats. Its a solution you can feel good about:  Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

TNR is a proven program in which entire colonies of stray and feral cats are humanely trapped, examined, receive medical care if necessary, vaccinated, and neutered by veterinarians.  Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes.  Adult cats too wild to be adopted are returned to their territory to live out their lives in protected, managed colonies.  Once the cats are neutered and the competition for sex, food and shelter are eliminated, they are content and live harmoniously in stable colonies.  If their numbers are kept in check, feral cats can live reasonably long, healthy, and dignified lives, in spite of the uncertainties and the hazards. Feral cat colonies, properly managed, actually add something to the urban fabric.

The surrounding human communities also benefit from managed feral colonies.  The rodent population is controlled as before, but the neutered cats no longer fight and mate; no more yowling and spraying, and no more litters of kittens.  No more puncture wounds from bites or sexual activity to spread feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.  As the colony cats's health improves they become more and more beautiful and charming.

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Together We Can Make a Difference

In managed colonies these cats are spayed and neutered, vacinated and receive food and shelter and medical care when necessary.  This ongoing care creates a safety net for both the cats and the community.  But spaying and neutering hundreds of cats a year and their ongoing care is expensive.  Each female spay costs $60, each male neuter costs $40. Their vaccinations, food, shelters,  and medical care are all additional expenses that run into the thousands of dollars a year.

Your contributions to our Fearl Cat Project will give us the means to help stray and feral cats and kittens live longer, healthier lives by providing food, shelters, and veterinary care.  Your generosity will help us control the feral cat population by spaying and neutering as many cats as possible, thus preventing the suffering and death of countless cats and kittens while at the same time providing feral cats a dignified, healthy life.

With mating and kitten season rapidly approaching funds are desperately to spay and neuter as many cats as possible as quickly as possible to prevent the suffering and death of more cats and kittens.

100 % of your contributions will be put to use in direct care efforts for the cats.  

You can make your donation online securely with your credit card through

You can also mail a check or money order to:

Max's House Animal Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 1581
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

The cats thank you and so do we!

OpEd Real Facts Offer Real Hope