12 Airport Blvd., San Mateo, CA
Controlling Feral Cat Populations
Trap, Test, Vaccinate, Alter and Release programs are the humane
means for controlling feral cat populations.
A feral cat overpopulation exists on the Peninsula. Feral cats are felines who, for the most part,
are not socialized and avoid human contact. Feral cat colonies begin with free-roaming, unaltered
and abandoned domestic cats; their colonies continue to draw new members as cats are left to
fend for themselves, or in worse cases, dumped near known colonies.
PHS/SPCA pro-actively works toward humanely controlling these populations and serves as a
resource for feral cat caregivers. Staff urge cats owners to keep cats indoors and provide info so
that owners can enrich indoor cats’ lives. Our humane officers use flyers and other tools to help
local residents mange colonies humanely. We’ve partnered with the Homeless Cat Network,
another local animal welfare organization, and host quarterly humane trapping workshops led by
For years, our organizational focus has been teaching and advocating TTVAR; that is, to trap,
test, vaccinate, alter and release healthy feral cats back into their colony at its original location.
Over time, this prevents colonies from growing and has show to actually reduce numbers. Our
clinic has altered thousands of feral cats at no cost or a greatly reduced cost to caregivers.
Implementing a Successful TTVAR Program
Feral cats should be humanely trapped. After testing negative for feline leukemia and feline
immunodeficiency virus (positive carriers are euthanized or isolated indoors for the rest of their
lives), cats should be vaccinated for common feline diseases, including rabies (for cats four
months of age and older) and spayed/neutered. After recovery, feral cats, identified as having
been altered with an ear tip, are returned to the colony at its original location.
A caregiver and alternate c