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Health of cats in colonies

Community cats in managed colonies are remarkably healthy. Of 5323 cats neutered in a US TNR program, only 0.4% were euthanased due to ill-health (14). Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are serious infectious diseases, but infection rates in many hundreds of cats presented for TNR were in the range 3-5%, equivalent to owned cats (15,16). Since FIV can be spread through bites, especially during territorial fights between males, and FeLV can be spread through mother's milk (16), rates of infection among community cats will be even lower once they are desexed. Community cats were lean but not emaciated, and their weight and body condition improved after desexing (17).


Therefore, disease or ill-health is not a reason for summarily killing community cats (9).

Although TNR may not meet the gold standard of care desired for pet cats, it appears that sterilised feral cats can enjoy an extended period of good quality life while their population dwindles by adoption or natural attrition. As such, it is not necessary to perform prophylactic euthanasia of feral cats simply because they do not share a human address.”