'Fen tiger' is probably feral tom

IT was with interest that I read the article about The Fen Tiger (September 10). The geographical area discussed in the article comes under the jurisdiction of St Neots and District Cats Protection. We are aware that this is quite a rural area and know

IT was with interest that I read the article about "The Fen Tiger" (September 10). The geographical area discussed in the article comes under the jurisdiction of St Neots and District Cats Protection.

We are aware that this is quite a rural area and know that there are several feral cat colonies there. It is interesting that some of the sightings are by farmers, as the feral cat colonies can usually be sourced to farms, smallholdings and the like. I feel that it is entirely likely that the sightings are of large male feral tom cats which can have territories of a square mile or more.

Sadly, many farmers believe that by keeping feral cats hungry and not having them speyed or neutered makes them better hunters for rodents and other pests. This is definitely not the case: a hungry cat is a weaker cat, a pregnant and nursing mother is a weaker cat and unneutered toms frequently fight and pass on diseases such as FELV and feline AIDS therefore becoming weaker cats and, with the failure to neuter, the problems continue down the generations.

If a breeding pair of cats were left unmanaged for five years, they could be responsible for the birth of a staggering 20,000 kittens through the generations.


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Interestingly, domestic cats which have been speyed/neutered and vaccinated, live in some cases to in excess of 20 years, with the average age at least 12. The average age of death for a feral cat is just 2.5 years.

We urge all landowners who have feral cat colonies to contact their local Cats Protection branch or other rescue society and arrange for them to be speyed or neutered.

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St Neots and District Cats Protection currently manages up to 200 feral cats in about a dozen colonies. We are able to neuter/spey the animals free of charge and provide a feeding programme subject to availability of donated food. Owners of domestic cats who are unable to afford to have them speyed or neutered can contact us too, and we will provide a voucher to cover the full cost of the operation. Telephone 01480 476696 or 07966 282005.

DAWN COOKE

Publicity/welfare officer

St Neots and District Cats Protection

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