Tortie Girl


This beautiful tortoiseshell cat is another member of the feral “popcorn cats” colony. This colony, located behind a movie theater, is well taken care of by colony caretakers who feed the cats daily and provide warm shelters. An additional indicator that this colony is being managed is the ear tip missing on the top left ear of each cat. The ear tip is a universal sign that the cat has been spayed/neutered and has often received important vaccinations. The ear tip is important because feral cats are unsocialized to humans and therefore un-adoptable without proper socialization. Feral cats that enter shelters are typically euthanized as already overcrowded shelters do not have the time to attempt to socialize a feral cat. The ear tip indicates that the cat can no longer reproduce and should be left in it’s habitat to live out it’s life.

Popcorn Cats


There is a colony of feral cats that live in a small wooded lot in a highly urban area. Their home is sandwiched between a movie theater and a Sonic drive-thru. All the colony residents have been trapped, vaccinated, neutered, and released back into their colony (TNR). Many people know of the “popcorn cats” and sometimes they decide to dump their unwanted (and often un-neutered) cats into the colony, thinking it is a good alternative to a shelter. But, it only furthers the issues of cat overpopulation, exactly the problem TNR aims to curb.

Feral Cats


A feral cat is a domestic cat that has lived without human influence most of its life. These cats are “unsocialized”, meaning they have not developed accepted social behaviors toward humans. Because feral cats lack interactions and positive experiences with humans they are often fearful, aggressive, self-defensive and distant when a human is present. In my opinion, this makes them an extremely interesting subject to research.

This feral colony lives outside of an now empty house in a college town. The house is by no means abandoned, the residents recently moved to a retirement home and the house is in limbo while they decide what to do with it.  The colony was being cared for by the house owners and when they moved they paid a woman at the local pet supply store to continue caring for the 15 colony residents. Despite the fact the entire colony is spayed/neutered new cats are frequently showing up in the area. The colony is located near campus and students often dump cats when they have no more need for them.