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It’s not only Feral cats that live in colonies, sometimes abandoned or lost cats eventually find their way into a colony. Cat colonies are formed normally around an available food source. Colony sizes vary from as little as just two cats and up to maybe 15 cats. Within the cat colonies feral cats form close friendships with other cats and do tend to rear their young together. In larger colonies the female cats most often are related. Related females and their young sometimes have one or more older males usually attached to the group and stay relatively close to a single cat colony, other male cats have a wider territory. The male does not live directly inside the colony.
Size of Colony
Generally, the size of the colony depends on the availability of food and safety. If the colony is being fed by a group regularly, the colony tends to be larger. Whereas, if they have to scavenging food as it is not readily available, it will be a smaller colony. A colony will not just accept a stray wandering into their territory and becoming part of the initial colony. A new potential member, if persistent, may eventually be allowed into the cat colony after a number of interactions. In general, the colony gets on well together and are tight knit, however, one thing they do independently is hunting.
While stray cats are often friendly with humans and may find a good home with an understanding guardian, feral cats, those who were born and raised in the wild, are often unable to adapt to domestic life. And of course, there just aren’t enough homes for all the wild and stray cats out there.
Volunteers often take on the demanding but rewarding role of managing a cat colony. This type of involvement ensures the colony sees minimal growth and remains mostly free from disease, particularly outbreaks that can spread into the rest of the community, potentially affecting other wild animals and domestic pets.
It takes a special kind of person to take on this role. They need to be committed to owning the responsibility which will include working with local veterinarians to provide free medical services, local shelters to domesticate and home any kitten litters, and working with neighbors and community members to minimize any interruption to neighborhoods in order to help protect the cats and their neighbors.