If you will not be the continuing caretaker for these cats you will want to follow up with the property owner to check on the progress of the relocation, both before and after the release. Encourage the new caretaker to interact verbally with the cats, and tell them that providing wet cat food as a treat (to be associated with their daily visits to the cage) will help the cat “bond.” This feral cat may or may not ever be touchable, but it can understand kindness, and will gain a certain degree of trust for their caretaker. Cats that form this “bond” will be much more likely to remain on the premises post-release.
Make yourself available to the new caretaker for any questions or issues that come up with the cat. They may not be truly cat-savvy, and will rely on your guidance and advice to make the relocation process successful.
Remember not to make any guarantees regarding either the cat’s choice to remain on the property, nor regarding their hunting abilities. Your efforts can increase the likelihood of the cat choosing to stay forever, but the cat will ultimately decide for itself what it wants to do.
You have chosen to remove feral cats from a specific location for a specific reason. Unless it is an empty field or thicket that is about to be bulldozed for condos, the original location may be subject to the Vacuum Effect. There was a good reason why those cats chose to congregate in that yard, field, parking lot, apartment complex, etc. They either had access to a good source of food, or a safe sanctuary to sleep in and have their kittens. Whether the food source was the back of a fish market, a dumpster behind a restaurant, a heavy rodent population, or a kindly little old lady putting out dishes of kibble, it drew cats like a magnet. When you remove a colony from a source of food, eventually a new group of cats will move into the vacated area, drawn to that source of food. The problem simply continues, with a brand new bunch of UNALTERED cats – and the cycle begins again. TNR must resume to prevent more kittens, and you are back to where you started. That is why leaving a fixed colony in place, with all cats spayed and neutered, is preferable to relocation.
Forgotten Felines is available to address any concerns you might have regarding relocation. Depending on equipment availability, we may be able to lend you traps, cages, etc. Please call us with any questions! (707) 576-7999.