ASPCA Research: Is This Cat Feral? | ASPCA Professional

The article quoted below includes a link to a webinar recording by Margaret Slater, DVM, PhD, Senior Director, Veterinary Epidemiology, ASPCA. This is an important, but difficult assessment to make, especially for those of us who have less TNR experience.

A wide-eyed, catatonic cat huddles in the back of a carrier or cage. Is this cat truly feral, or is she friendly but currently frightened?

Shelter staff face this question all the time as they struggle to determine the fate of the cats in their care. Answering it is a lot harder than it might appear. Regardless of how well socialized they are with people, many cats who enter shelters display fearful behavior.

This ASPCA research project is designed to determine whether we can develop a reliable and humane tool for identifying truly unsocialized cats shortly after they arrive at the shelter. Such a tool would enable cat caregivers in shelters to more accurately distinguish between:

truly unsocialized cats who would benefit from Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services, and

socialized but terrified cats whose owner may be searching for them, or who are likely to be candidates for adoption if given time to show their true qualities

via ASPCA Research: Is This Cat Feral? | ASPCA Professional.