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January 2016



Feral Cats - Myths vs Reality

Feral cats lead short, miserable lives so it’s best to trap and euthanize them.

Studies show that feral cats have about the same lifespan as pet cats. And they contract diseases at about the same rate. It is simply not humane or prudent to kill a healthy feral cat, and this practice does not reduce their populations over the long-term because other cats move in and start breeding.

Feral cats are diseased and can make pet cats or children sick.

Feral cats are generally healthy. The incidence of disease in feral cat colonies is no higher than among owned cats. Feral cats shun human contact, especially with unfamiliar people. They aren’t interested in interacting with you or your children.

Feral cats should be taken to local animal shelters so they can be adopted.

Feral cats are not pet cats and they will be euthanized at most shelters. During kitten season feral mothers are often trapped and destroyed leaving their nursing kittens behind. Even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes.

Feral cats are predators that deplete wildlife.

Studies show that the overwhelming cause of population decline in birds is the destruction and fragmentation of their habitat, man-made structures, chemical pollution, pesticides, etc. — not feral cats.

Feral Cats are homeless.

The outdoors IS their home! Feral cats have been living outdoors, alongside humans for thousands of years. Adult feral cats are not like strays; they usually cannot be socialized and are most content living outside. On the other hand, strays & feral kittens can often be placed in homes.


Things have been extremely busy since the last newsletter! Hardly had I sent out the November newsletter than I received an urgent call at 5pm: we’re leaving on holiday tomorrow morning; she’s been here the whole year and we’ve been feeding her; she has three kittens; HELP!!! So, with 12 hours to “do something” I went down to trap Mom. Needless to say I had no luck and we were unable to remove the kittens (at that stage still young enough to be tamed). A huge thank you to Janet Longman who spent many evenings there and was eventually able to entice an extremely feisty Mama Wily into the trap before Christmas. In the last two weeks I have managed to trap and sterilise one of the babies as well as a huge male (probably dad) who had not been seen around before.


For approximately two years now Sandra Coetzee has been trying to trap a particularly elusive cat living on her property. All attempts have failed and predictably, Bubbles had kittens, fathered by Hitler, the elderly black and white cat who also frequents the area and who has proved just as elusive. With Nikki’s help the two kittens were trapped, but even using them as bait for Bubbles did not work. The female kittens, both quite wild, were adopted by Francois and Ronel Groenewald and have settled down and tamed beautifully. They have been named Apache Girl and Crazy Horse. Sandra continues trying to trap Bubbles and Hitler ….


Hardly had I left on holiday than another email arrived about a female who had appeared with her five babies but this situation was also quickly resolved: the mother was sterilised by the Project and all the kittens found homes.

While I was on holiday, I was emailed about a mother cat and three kittens that were abandoned at a block of flats by students. So far I have not had time to follow up.

On Thursday 14th I went, as per usual, to drop off the weekly consignment of food at a colony. Judy, who lives on site and feeds the cats for me, mentioned three tiny kittens abandoned there with their mother. I am 100% certain that this family was dumped as the kittens were not feral. I rushed to work, collected the first cardboard box I could find, dashed back to the colony and with Judy’s help, loaded up the little mites and dropped them with Janet Longman who had offered to foster earlier in the week.

Janet takes up the story:

These three orphans were just skeletons covered with skin when Lynne brought them to me 17 days ago. In a lifetime of doing animal welfare work, it is the worst case scenario I have had. Normally kittens in this condition are dead bodies by the time they are found.  Lorna rallied and brought food and probiotics with kitty milk from the vet. Fortunately the little kittens were so hungry they ate immediately the food was put in front of them. All three boys are now thriving little hellions, cute as can be.  Selby (the black and white boy) appears to have had a firecracker tied to his body and front leg - both badly burned and still very painful when Lynne rescued him.  The vet found a burn behind his ear on the same side. All injuries are healing but I'm not sure if the hair will ever grow there again. Selby is the liveliest, happiest kitten imaginable and will make a great playmate in a loving furever home. Zorro (aka Sam) is soft-haired and has an almost "Greek cat" look about him, with his face mask. He, too, is delightful and very playful.  Little Stripey Joe is still the tiniest of the three but a sweet boy with instant purrs and kneading. They will be ready for their furever homes within the next 10 days to 2 weeks.  Please rally around and help us find them good homes. They really do deserve the best after the hell they have been through before Lynne rescued them.

Selby, Sammy and Joe

Selby is adorable, confident, playful and full of lovin', which amazes me because his emaciated little body showed likely signs of cruel abuse in the form of a burn circle around one upper arm, as if something had been tied around it, and a burn down his ribs. We think a firecracker may have been tied to him and lit. On the same side, a fractured leg. He must know only love and kindness from now on! Hoping his forever home will come along very soon.


Little Zorro is a beautiful charcoal tabby with a black mask. A little shy at first, but soon playful and loving cuddles. They've all been seen by a vet and are improving in condition every day. He's so hoping for a loving forever home soon - maybe with one of his brothers, or another kitty friend.


Stripey Joe, as foster mom Janet calls him, is the sweetest little fellow - mellow and full of lovin'. Hoping this precious furchild will find a wonderful forever home soon.

Stripey Joe

If you would like to meet these boys please contact Janet Longman on 083 651 0352.



Late last year Tarryn Gillitt was notified of a colony in town, and, with Ros’s help, was going to have the adults sterilised. The people staying on the property took the kittens to the SPCA (we hope they found wonderful homes), but unfortunately to date Tarryn and Ros have not been able to access the property so have no idea what has happened to the adults. I suspect that more kittens have been born as, two weeks ago, I was called to collect a teeny tiny kitten who had been found in a hedge. His eyes weren’t even open yet and I knew he was going to need extra special love and care so, as always, foster mom Caren leapt at the opportunity to bottle-feed. Spencer is growing in leaps and bounds and will be ready for adoption in about eight weeks.


I was hardly back at work when I had an urgent request for traps from a long-time supporter who works at one of the state institutions. Due to various circumstances she had been unable to complete the TNR of their colony last year, with predictable consequences. Thankfully I had spare traps and Griet was available to foster, with the result that she has had her hands full with five adorable, energetic bundles of fluff! The girls have already been adopted but the boys are still available. Please contact Magriet Wood on 060 954 9347 should you like to meet them.

Just when I thought things were more or less under control, I heard via the grapevine that there are kittens at a colony that was supposedly stabilised early last year. Needless to say I emailed my contact immediately, only to be told that not all the cats had been sterilised, there were at least three kittens and probably more. When traps become available they will be first on the list.


And finally, this is little Oliver, found crying and starving at Albany Sports Club on Friday night. He is skin and bone – goodness knows how he ended up by himself. He is a little shy, but once he relaxes is a huge bundle of purrs, head bonks and rubs. After being checked out by the vet yesterday he has gone to join Griet’s fosters. Oliver will be available for adoption in about two weeks – we’re just waiting for him to regain his strength and have his first inoculation and deworming. If you would like to adopt Oliver please contact Magriet Wood on 060 954 9347.



We would like to appeal to the public to contact us should they be aware of feral cat activity in or around their homes, so that we might trap and sterilise the adults before more kittens are born.

Fortunately things are not this crazy all the time. 2016 is going to be extremely busy work-wise – we are moving, packing to begin in February – and I am studying again (after a hiatus of 18 years!) towards a Diploma in Archival Studies. And after 20 years in the same post, I am moving departments. Exciting times, but sadly the Project is going to have to take more of a back seat until extra volunteers are found.



Five females were spayed and three males were neutered. Hopefully these figures will pick up now that the holiday season is over.


Lost Cats

STILL MISSING! Tigger is new in the Hellier Street, Fort England area and went missing from her new home on 12 October. Tigger was one of Beth Dickerson's cats and may have tried to make her way back to New Street. If you see her in either area, please contact Lorna on 076 353 0726. She is a very timid cat and will be afraid. Thanks.



Cash and food collections at Pick ‘n Pay: 2 April and 1 October.

Viv Botha has kindly agreed to have another book sale during 2016 – details still to be confirmed – so please start putting aside any unwanted books when you are doing your post-Christmas spring cleaning.



(26 November 2015 to 22 January 2016)

Thank you so much to everyone who donated. Your support means so much to us and helps us to continue with our work.

Lizette Benn
Sukhmani Mantel
Jennifer R Gon
June McDougall
Sheryl Drennan
Colleen Duffy
Ronel Groenewald (adoption fee)
Sean Stark
Chiara Maffessanti (adoption fee)

If making electronic payments please remember to include WILDCAT and your name as a reference so that we can thank you. Please email proof of payment to: l.grant@nelm.org.za


About Us

All donations go to sterilisation and a small portion to food.
Occasionally there are costs for veterinary care of ferals who are ill or injured.

We appreciate your generosity greatly as it enables us to continue helping the feral cats.
Spays cost us R440 and neuters R287,
plus extra for any complications such as pregnancy or undescended testes.

The adoption fee is R500, which includes first deworming and inoculation and obligatory sterilisation.

If you would like to donate any amount, please deposit into our vet account at:

The Grahamstown Veterinary Clinic,
Standard Bank Account No 282625054
Branch Code 050917

Please add the reference "W/CAT" and your name, and please notify us if possible
so that we can follow up donations in case of accidental misallocation

Please do not take any feral/stray cat into the vet for attention and charge it to our Wildcat account without prior approval from Lynne.

The Wildcat account with the vet is meant for sterilisation of ferals and will only under certain exceptional circumstances be used for other procedures.

Grahamstown Feral Cat Project uses the TNR (Trap, Neuter & Return) approach - globally recognised as the most humane, least costly and most sustainable way of stabilizing feral cat populations.

Volunteers humanely trap the feral cats; we take them to the vet to be spayed or neutered; the tip of the right ear is snipped off so we can easily identify that they have been sterilised; we return them to their original territory where they live out their lives (adult ferals cannot be tamed). Feral kittens, wherever possible, are fostered, tamed and homed.


Archived Newsletters

January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015


The Grahamstown Feral Cat project promotes responsible pet ownership. This includes proper care (feeding, vaccination and preventative treatment against parasites, etc.) and sterilisation to prevent unplanned kittens and reduce the number of homeless animals.


Useful Facebook Pages:

Grahamstown Animal Network (GRAN): https://www.facebook.com/groups/GRanimalove/
Grahamstown Missing Pets: https://www.facebook.com/groups/341158359327237/



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Page updated on February 6, 2018