On a Cork farm she visited recently there were 53 feral cats in the colony and once sterilized, dewormed and checked for disease they were sent back to the farm.
There are many other places around Cork where Maggie traps wild cats.
“Cats are very specific – they will go where it is safe for them to sleep and find food. This could be housing estates, businesses, restaurants, hotels and hotels that are happy to keep them for safekeeping. rats.
“We could trap anything from one to 50 weird cats,” says Maggie.
Community Cats Network works with the Riverview Veterinary Group which covers Cork.
“The vets give us a discount. So the cats come in, they are caged, they are given a sedative and a full head and body exam, then an external or internal operation for sterilization. It takes about 20 minutes a day. cat and the vet subsidize it heavily and we pay around $ 45 each, ”says Maggie.
The cats are then put at the end of the ears and brought back to their environment of origin and the network remains in contact with the one who feeds them. The eartip, which helps identify a neutered cat, also allows farmers to register it as a working farm animal, Maggie explains.
She thinks there needs to be a lot more education in the community to find out how fertile cats are and how disease-carrying feral cats can be.
“From April to October they are in heat, until the time changes. Most of the time a wild female will get pregnant – then she can get pregnant again 21 days after giving birth. She can have three litters. per year and from 14 weeks later, female kittens are fertile.
“With a dog, people will lock them up while they’re in heat. You can’t do that with a cat,” she says.
Disease and population control is the biggest problem she sees.
“The biggest problem is that they constantly reproduce and constantly get sick and die, so it’s a well-being and control issue,” says Maggie.
And while she traps over 1,000 feral cats a year in Bandon and Kinsale alone, she knows this is a “national problem.”
“In 2019 we trapped 1,136 cats and last year it was 934 but it was because of Covid and we didn’t know if we were allowed to work for a while. But it certainly isn’t only in Cork it’s a national problem I know of smaller groups that trap and sterilize in Ireland, “says Maggie.