Considerations before you become a colony manager.
#1. Properly managing a cat colony is a long term commitment.
#2. This commitment is year round, rain or shine.
#3. If you are not sure that you want to make a long term commitment, do not put food out for any cat.
#4. If you begin feeding a cat or cats, they will depend on you or someone else to continue feeding them.
Ownership of property:
You must either own the property that the cat colony is on or have permission to care for the cats on the property. It is recommended that, if you do not own the property, you get permission to use it for this purpose in writing from the owner.
It is recommended that colony managers use the Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return (TVNR) method to control populations and disease. This is a vital part of high quality colony management. Detailed information on TVNR as well as resource links can be found at the bottom of this page.
Colony managers need to keep track of not only members of the colony, but medical issues, spay/neuter status and any issues that may effect the smooth operation of the colony.
Feed and observe the cat colony in the same place at about the same time each and every day. Your colony will be looking forward to their meal and you will have the opportunity to observe any changes in the health or membership of the colony.
Make your feeding and observation time during daylight hours as night feeding can attract other unwanted and unwelcome wildlife to your colony, resulting in some potentially dangerous encounters for your colony members as well as yourself.
Colony managers will want to Immediately identify, trap, and sterilize any new colony members. Work with Osceola County Animal Services in an effort to find homes for cats that appear to be socialized, stray, or abandoned.
Even feral cats are effected by the weather, be it extremely hot or cold. You can buy or build a cat shelter to help shield your colony from weather extremes. Shelters can be purchased or built fairly inexpensively.
Leave feral kittens with their mothers until they are about five weeks old. After this age, you can capture and socialize them for adoption. If you can not commit to the time and care to socialize kittens, leave them with their colony and spay/neuter them at about 12 weeks of age.
If you go on vacation or move away from the area, arrange for a new caregiver or neighbor to handle colony duties. Remember that the colony depends on you and it is better for them to stay where they are currently living.
It is a good idea having backup caregivers to care for the colony, in case you are sick or unable to care for the colony for some reason.