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How to Kill a Feral Cat
Feral cats are an absolute nuisance. They are both predators and scavengers who feed on birds and small rodents as well as anything left in open garbage cans or left over cat food outdoors. They have also been known to injure housecats and other small outdoor pets.
Feral cats have a huge impact on the local ecosystem. Through various studies, it has been proven that killing small animals significantly impacts the population of foxes, weasels, raccoons and other animals.
Health Concerns for Humans and Pets
These cats are also harbingers of human and wildlife diseases. Lack of immunization means they are likely to carry any number of harmful diseases. These include toxoplasmosis, feline AIDS, cat scratch fever, rabies, plague and ringworm to name a few.
Killing feral cats can be very difficult. You will have to observe them, their habits and their hiding places closely in order to know when and where to get to them. Through methods like shooting, poisoning and kill traps, the feral population numbers can be significantly reduced.
Conibear ® or Body Gripping Traps
These kinds of traps are effective at killing small animals, including feral cats. You will need to find the entrance/exit to their chosen hiding spot and set them up there. Be aware of where you place them so no other small animals will get caught and killed.
Bait these traps using cat food or small amounts of meat placed in the back of the trap. Always cover or disguise the trap you are using. Cats are cunning animals and may know exactly what is there if they see the trap.
Body gripping traps contain a trigger that, when released, snap down on the feral cat with a lethal blow. Be aware that even if you are killing them, they should still be killed in the most humane manner possible. Go to your local hardware or home and garden store to find out the most effective way to set the traps.
Shooting feral cats is a tried and true method in rural areas. People around the world have used guns to rid their property of these pests. You will have to draw them out with bait of have a very good idea of where they hide and sleep to shoot them as they come out.
Luring them with elevated decoys like feathers, specific scents to draw them in, or well-placed meat or cat food will do the trick. A .22 is often used to shoot the cats for a quick death.
If you live in an urban or suburban area, shooting is not the best option for obvious reasons. The luring options remain the same as in rural areas. It has been shown that feral cats can be killed with a carefully placed, close-range shot to the head.
There are no approved poisons for killing feral cats; however, there are a couple of methods you can use. If you live trap a feral cat in a hole or culvert, you can kill the animal with carbon dioxide gas. You can also place pulverized dry ice in the hole or holes. This will release carbon dioxide as well.
Killing feral cats through traps, shooting or poisonous substances may be illegal where you live. Consult your local wildlife management organization to find out what the laws and restrictions are. If you live in an area with protected species that may become ensnared in your kill traps, you will be looking at hefty fines and possibly jail time. Using poison specifically designed for other types of pests is not legal and may not result in death of the feral cat.
The local animal shelter where you live is a good resource on how to deal with feral cats. They often have to euthanize these animals when they come in as they are not adoptable. They may also have diseases. If they have a program that allows you to bring in a live feral cat to be euthanized, take that option instead.
In addition, there are trap, neuter and return programs in many areas. This lowers the population and its effect on local wildlife. Try to come up with other disposal methods before you resort to killing them outright.