“feral cats causing issues?”

by Prince Of Petworth January 13, 2017 at 1:50 pm 72 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“I have 3 feral cats in my alley that are pooping in my yard, chasing birds, and they had a huge fight last night on the porch. One got into my garage last week and scared the hell of out me when i was trying to get my baby out of its car seat. Is anyone else having a problem with feral cats? Do you seen them in the parks as well as alleys? If you do, where are they? Do you have pictures?”

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  • anon

    I have many feral cats in Brookland/Woodridge. They kill mice and, other than riling up my dogs, cause me no anguish.

  • textdoc

    If the cats are having fights, odds are that they’re unneutered males.
    I’m curious why the OP asks whether people are seeing feral cats “in the parks,” as it doesn’t seem germane to the concerns about cat poop in the OP’s yard or a cat getting into the OP’s garage. It seems to dovetail with the campaign against D.C.’s TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) strategy — I recall some allegations about feral cats supposedly being released into parks, which the head of WHS’s CatNIPP program strenously denied.

  • FeralCatsNeedLoveToo

    You saw a cat chasing a bird? I can’t imagine..

    • Rich

      This is DC. Whining is an Olympic sport. And you never know who might be an Audubon member.

      • Neighborly

        As a homeowner who has had to clean up cat discarded bird remains off my lawn, I assure you that this is a nuisance.

  • KaloramaRama

    I remember when Trap, Neuter, and Release was proposed as a solution both for feral cats and gentrification!

  • iHawkeye

    When I lived off of Georgia Ave NW on Morton St. there was a group of feral cats that some lady would drive over and feed in the alley which was a bit annoying since she didn’t live there and I assume since she was feeding them that they weren’t eating as many mice/rats as they normally would.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      LOL, yeah she named them all too. Seemed like she drove through every night.

  • Blithe

    Why do you want to know? I’m not trying to be snarky — just surprised that you’re asking for information and pictures when I was expecting a request for possible solutions to your concerns.

  • Linc Park SE

    The DC wildlife department is developing (surveys/studies going on now) a program to control/contain feral cats in the District- just wait.

    • PetworthGirl

      They actually aren’t. All jurisdiction regarding domestic species (all cats are a domestic species whether you call them feral or not) is under DC Animal Care and Control. Trust me, DCACC won’t be giving that up to the DOEE.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Maybe you could get Courtland Milloy to help?

  • ERD

    I would rather have the cats instead of rats and mice. The feral cats on our block are neutered and have kept the rodents away despite the large amount of construction on our block. Maybe it’s changed, but we couldn’t find anyone willing to help us catching the cats to be fixed. Had to trap them ourselves, but one organization did loan us the traps. Can’t remember who they are now.

    • anon

      Was likely WHS (now Humane Rescue Alliance).

  • Blithe

    LOL Just saw the heading thingy. So far, I think people have been kind. So far…..

  • Amanda

    How do you know they’re feral? Are they eartipped? If not, call the Humane Rescue Alliance at 202-608-1356 x101 or 202-88-ALTER, or email them at [email protected]

    They will help you get them spayed/neutered. Cats typically hang around where there is a food source. Are you feeding them?

  • anonymous

    I have feral cats, raccoons, and squirrels that all live in or near my yard. All of them create their own kinds of issues but nothing that is unexpected for city living. I would make sure your trash cans are secure from all sorts of animals -i use bricks they work okay. Make sure you dont have any other types of food items. Also make sure your neighbors are not feeding the cats. I have no issue with the feral cats near my house but i did stop asking my neighbor to feed them because 1) there were old cans everywhere which is littering and b) if they are hungry they will kill mice. She now only feeds them when its really cold or if its a holiday and i just look the other way. its a compromise of sorts. Other then that you can plant some things that are unappealing to cats like rosemary and lavender.

    I am not sure you are describing any issues that seem all that intolerable and again i have to ask like previous commentators why you need pictures of other feral cats to solve your concern?

    • wdc

      Where did you hear that rosemary and lavender are unappealing to cats? I ask because my mother has two semi-feral cats in her neighborhood that she calls Rosemary and Thymey Tim… Apparently they won’t quit rolling in her herb garden, and they smell herby all the time.

      • anonymous

        interesting- my vet told me. I have house cats (indoors) but i wanted the feral ones to stay away from the windows so i planted them there. i am not sure if it works or if the cats just dont like getting too close to the house . might be total BS but since it came from the vet i thought i would pass along the suggestion

        • PetworthGirl

          Some cats hate those smells, others like them. Just like people, their preferences vary widely. Pretty much none of them like vinegar or strong citrus smells though.

  • skj84

    We have lots of feral cats in my neighborhood. They seem well behaved. I’ve befriended two of them. One has taken to sleeping in one of the chairs on my front porch. We left a blanket out for it since its been cold. I want to leave food out for that particular cat, but don’t want to attract all the other cats.

  • Anon.
  • LCinDC

    Ugh. 6-8 cats at almost all times in the alleyway b/w 2nd and 3rd St NE in Eckington. Someone leaves aluminum pans of food out without picking up. Lots of excitement from my dog on our walks! Also attracts lots of raccoons and such of course…

    • houseintherear

      Sounds like the problem is with the human neighbor, not the cats. You should talk to them about it some time.

      • Anonymous

        Feral cat feeders are not typically reasonable people that I can have a rational conversation with. I’d much prefer no one feed them, but a couple of people near me do regularly. I put out a trap, and I’ll either drop that at WHS or release them in rock creek park.
        I hate stepping in cat poop – that stuff is disgusting.

        • houseintherear

          I’m sad to hear you have dropped feral cats in the park. Feral cats hunt vermin as groups, keep each other warm/safe, and are scientifically proven to have deep friendships/relationships with their colony mates. Please google Alley Cat Allies so you can find out where to take a cat for spay/neuter surgery… dropping feral cats at a shelter (even the awesome HRC) is not an ideal or compassionate solution.

          • Anonymous

            You misunderstand. I don’t want them in my neighborhood.

        • PetworthGirl

          Your entire solution is fruitless. Trust me, there are LOTS of cats in. Trapping and removing a couple here and there won’t stop other from moving right in. If they’re there, there’s a food source. If you don’t want cats on your property, there are plenty of deterrents that are very effective. If you’re upset about an unopened, legally allowed animal on public property, then you may want to consider moving somewhere less urban.

          • Anonymous

            If trap neuter and relocate isn’t a viable solution, then what makes you think that TNR is? I do agree that it’s the people feeding them that are the problem. Hi!
            There are not plenty of effective deterrents. There’s a whole lot of effort for things that may or may not work. Especially when your neighbor is one of the feeders.
            And it’s not legal for you to have outdoor cats in DC. You might want to move somewhere more rural where you can support nasty cats on your own acres without impacting your neighbors.

      • textdoc

        Agreed (although the cat-feeder might not necessarily be a neighbor of LCinDC’s). That person is NOT following best practices for feeding feral cats.
        Basically, the person who feeds the cats is supposed to stick around until the cats finish eating (or maybe come back after a short while, if he/she is also feeding cats at another location nearby) and then remove the uneaten cat food. People feeding cats should NOT be putting food down and letting it just stay there indefinitely.

        • textdoc

          Alley Cat Allies’ “Food and Water Tips” page at http://www.alleycat.org/community-cat-care/food-and-water-tips/ says:
          “Feeding your cats year-round at a regular time (preferably daylight), will keep them healthy and strong.”
          “If the cats eat all the food in 15 minutes or less, they may need more. If there’s always food left after 30 minutes, you might be giving them too much.”
          “Don’t leave uneaten food out for more than 30 minutes—it attracts bugs.”

          • DC_tenner

            And rats

  • Atticus
  • Gino 911

    Yes, plenty on 6th and Orleans NE because some batty old lady in the neighborhood feeds them. I hate cats and want all the feral ones in my neighborhood to die peacefully in their sleep. That’s all I have to contribute to this thread.

  • Sydney

    Bet you don’t have any rats, do you? The cats say, “You’re welcome.”

  • Anonymous

    Would you defenders of feral cats be ok with me feeding feral dogs next to your house?

    • Pleasanter

      Do dogs keep the rat population in check?

      • Anonymous

        Rat traps and such do a good job of that without pooping in my yard. So does not being a slob with our trash.

        • Pleasanter

          Poisoning rats is in my opinion cruel and harmful for those higher up on the food chain – including cats, and especially birds of prey.

          • Anonymous

            There are mechanical and electrical devices that are effective at killing rats and safe to others.

    • anon

      Feral dogs should be fed, but also should be taken to the shelter as they a) can’t survive extreme conditions like a cat can, b) can be socialized later in life, and c) could hurt someone bigger than a rat. There is a reason why dogs are always rounded up and taken to the shelter and cats are trapped/neutered/released. I just listed them.

      • Anonymous

        I think the reason is that cat lovers are unreasonable and don’t care if they spread their problems on the rest of the neighborhood.
        With the effort people put into feeding and caring for feral cats, a feral dog colony could be maintained also.

    • PetworthGirl

      There’s no population of feral dogs, so good job with the strawman argument.

      • Anonymous

        You might have done better with “I know you are but what am I?”
        Of course there are no feral dog populations. It would be ridiculous and rude to support that in a neighborhood. Just like feral cat colonies. You just don’t know how ridiculous you are.

  • Ally

    Having “owned” cats (you never really own them) for the better part of 30 years, I’d recommend that you just give them what they want. Even though no amount of loving or food or cat nip will ever make them happy, you really don’t want to cross them. Because they will cut you. Okay, I’m mostly kidding. But, yeah, there are times that my loving tomcat just scares me (brought me a less than alive mouse the other nice). They are furry little killers.

  • Brightwoodite

    “Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of other species, including those at risk of extinction such as Piping Plover…In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. ”


    I love my cats, but outdoor cats are an invasive species that is leading to the extinction of native birds and other animals.

    • Jay

      Please don’t start this argument. We live in a city. There are no native birds and other animals. It is not a natural ecosystem. And the feral cats in this city are not hunting your precious Piping Plover. They are hunting grungy city sparrows.

      • anonymous

        That’s simply not true. Sure, there are a lot of invasive starlings and pigeons, but DC has a tremendous diversity of birds, including natives and migrants. I live a 10-minute walk from Dupont Circle, and just this fall I’ve seen 2 species of woodpecker, 2 species of hawks, and who knows how many warbler species in my yard.

      • Brightwoodian

        It’s fairly obvious you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Rock Creek park alone has 160 species of native birds.

        • PetworthGirl

          Yep and there aren’t any colonies of cats in Rock Creek Park. The most sensitive areas don’t have cat colonies.

          • Anonymouse

            I commend you for waking the entirety of Rock Creek Park every day looking for cats. You must have amazing stamina.

        • Jay

          It’s not a natural ecosystem. The city is man made. You can’t complain about preserving “native species” after we’ve already destroyed the natural environment.

          • CatsRPeople2

            Is that your position on climate change also? Too late to fix what we’ve screwed up so let’s not do anything?

          • Brightwoodite

            What’s a “natural ecosystem”? One with no humans in it? Are you saying we should give up on restoring any environment that has experienced human intervention? Because that’s pretty much all of them. Do we just wash our hands of the whole planet because we’ve screwed it up too much already? This city still has a functioning ecosystem, in places. But we’ve interfered with it already by doing lots of things, including introducing non-native and destructive species into it, including cute little kitties. But we can also work to fix the damage we’ve done and restore some kind of balance. Feeding feral cats is not how we do that.

  • DC_tenner

    “that are pooping in my yard, chasing birds, and they had a huge fight last night on the porch.”

    • Anonymous

      Did you think you were reading Somaliaville?

  • Morton

    Does anyone know definitively if I trap a feral cat and take it to NY Ave shelter, would they accept it? If not, will any other DC facilities or groups take them (and not relocate them back to my block)?

    Not looking for judgement or to start stir further debate – just factual responses.

    • anon

      If it’s truly feral, no. But they will spay/neuter vaccinate, and volunteers will feed the cat going forward. trap/neuter/return addresses the root cause of the problem. and domestic cats should be kept inside and ALWAYS spayed or neutered.

  • PurplePEEPleEaster

    Trap them and send them my direction. My neighborhood has a severe lack of feral cats and a huge rat problem.

    • PetworthGirl

      You should email HRA’s CatNiPP program if you’re really interested in introducing community cats in your yard. There are sometimes cats who can’t safely go back to their original outdoor location and need an alternative placement. Their email is [email protected].

      • Anonymouse

        I’m also sponsoring a catch-and-release program for snakehead fish, emerald ash borers, and Dutch Elm Disease. If you want, I can drop off any of those fuzzy cute imports in P your neighborhood too. Finding a snakehead fish in your bathtub can really liven up your day.

  • JMo

    Your referred to your baby as “it”…

  • MSDixieDiva

    Call a local rescue group. They may relocate or TNR, fixing them to reduce kittens & fights but leaving them in the area.

  • Marylee

    I had seen feral cats in my area and they poop in my garden. I hate cleaning its poop from the garden. Every morning I have to clean it out. Before 2 days back, I found that it is living my shed. I tried to move them but that wasn’t successful, so I called a wildlife exclusion, Toronto. Thankfully, they have cleaned out them from my area and I haven’t seen them after.


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