The cornerstone of colony management is TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). All cats in a colony should be neutered and vaccinated, and if possible have someone regularly looking out for newcomers and problems. Feral cats find shelter and a food source because they are opportunists. Feeding and providing shelter for feral cats allows them to peacefully co-habitate in an area. Even if well fed by a caretaker they will continue to provide rodent control. However providing nutritious food keeps them both from roaming in search of other food sources and also less susceptible to disease and parasites.
Caregivers, provide food and water regularly and sometimes create shelters depending on the environment and if extreme winters or summers require additional protection for the cats. The caregivers provide something else that is critical: They give the cats a voice by educating neighbors and people who work in or near the colony’s territory. Education and in some cases, mediation, is an essential aspect of Trap-Neuter-Return and colony care.
Basic care for feral cats can involve the following: