Trap/Neuter/Return...good or bad for the feral cat community?

@bizness (841)
United States
October 24, 2012 12:10pm CST
The method is pretty much as follows: Trap/Neuter/Return begins with trapping feral cats using a humane cage trap. The traps are set out in areas where it is known there are feral cat populations. Once the cat is trapped, it is taken to a local TNR spay/neuter location, usually the local animal shelter/control or animal charity organization where the cats are spayed/neutered for a small fee. Some TNR programs also vaccinate for rabies (in most cases rabies is automatic) and other feline diseases(these are optional). Then the cats are usually marked by either tatooing or 'ear tipping'. This lets people and animal control know the cat is a part of a managed/controlled colony and has been spayed or neutered. This helps keep the cats from being euthanized or confined. After the surgery the cat is cared for and watched for a couple of days to make sure there are no complications, and then it is released back into the area it was found. TNR supporters adopt this practice as a part of the 'No Kill Movement'. Does this work? Studies have been conducted and several of them concluded that, yes this works. For example, a PHD study in North Carolina found that TNR reduced the feral cat population by 36% over a 2 year period with an extinction of 1/3 of the population over the same time period as well, while non TNR colonies increased by over 60%. So, my question is this....do you think this is something we should try to adopt in each state? Do you think it will help?
2 people like this
5 responses
@deazil (4556)
• United States
24 Oct 12
This is a very good program. TNR has prevented the birth of thousands (probably many more) of unwanted, homeless kittens. It's a very humane way of dealing with the situation. Gradually the feral cat population will dwindle (hopefully). Some of these cats are not feral and are friendly to humans because they've been abandoned or escaped from their homes. These cats are kept at the shelter for fostering/adoption and are not returned to the colony. Their efforts are well received in most communities. I definitely know it helps.
@bizness (841)
• United States
24 Oct 12
Thank you! I believe just as you do...I've seen how it works. These cats will die off naturally and live a good life. The colonies are basically controlled/managed so not only does it help with overpopulation of feral kittens, it helps with diseases as well. Thanks for responding. By the way, is it implemented where you are?
@deazil (4556)
• United States
25 Oct 12
Yes. In Massachusetts we have the Homeless Cat Project. There may be others in different parts of the state with other names. It works well. I used to feed a feral colony behind a plaza near my house until I ran out of money. I never saw any kittens. And it's not a good idea to get friendly with the ferals because you don't want them to readily go to people. You never know what kind of people might try to catch them. So it's best if they run away and come out to eat after you're gone. Although I like working with ferals. I domesticated a few but it takes months of being patient and waiting. Good discussion. Information not everybody is aware of.
@bizness (841)
• United States
25 Oct 12
That's great it's there and doing so well! I know what you mean about not trying to domesticate or tame but I do have one that, believe it or not took 2 years to tame! She is now a great cat although she doesn't let just anyone pet her! :)
@rebelann (41467)
• El Paso, Texas
11 Nov 16
They used to do that around the area where I worked because of the problems they were having with kittens showing up all the time in the mid 1990s. By 2005 there were hardly any cats anymore and they began having problems with mice and rats. So, yeah, it does work but then you are faced with other kinds of problems so one has to wonder which is worse, all those cute kittens or mice and rats. The more mankind interferes with the natural world the worse the problems become one way or another. I guess it's best to simply not allow people to adopt cats unless they are willing to sign a contract that they will in fact keep their kitty indoors, whether spayed/neutered or not, and to me the best way to enforce this would be the wonderful invention of that lil ole chip. I believe there are wild cats in parts of our country that should never be tampered with, here we used to have bobcats but the local idiots killed them all.
@bizness (841)
• United States
11 Nov 16
I do agree with we should stop interfering with the natural process of things. TNR is a good program though, it helps to ensure kittens are dying out on the streets and also to make sure they have had their rabies.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (41467)
• El Paso, Texas
11 Nov 16
Yes, it can be a good idea @bizness but since most people don't want coyotes around to keep the mice and rat population in check we should consider allowing at least some kitties around. Nature does have a way of taking care of things although the whole rabies and leukemia issue should be addressed.
@bizness (841)
• United States
11 Nov 16
@rebelann Exactly! I have helped to 're-locate' numerous colonies and for the most part it has worked wonderfully!
1 person likes this
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
24 Oct 12
It works well in California. I have personally done a lot of trapping and releasing and it is so wonderful to have "working" cats in my area. We have a lot of mice, rats, and ground squirrels where I live and the cats keep the problem down to a minimum. Plus, we don't have the problem of over population. Each state should adopt the program, rather than being over run with vermin (mice, rats, etc) we can live in a situation where we don't have the spread of disease and bacteria by uncontrolled vermin. After all, look at the black plague...it was a case of rats going wild. If you think cats can multiply like crazy, look at the situation with mice and rats! They make rabbits and cats look like wimps! Instead of killing the cats, lets trap, neuter and release!!! But of course it makes sense...
@bizness (841)
• United States
24 Oct 12
I always love to hear the other places it's proven to work! Thank you so much for sharing. How long has it been in place there? And you are absolutely 100% correct...it does help with keeping down the rat/mice population and spread of disease.
@Loverbear (4928)
• United States
24 Oct 12
It's been in place about 20 years! It has been the greatest program with tons of success. We also have more no kill shelters than 30 years ago, and the shelters almost all spay and neuter before the animal is put up for adoption. It has cut back a lot on unwanted litters, dumped animals, and huge populations of feral animals (dogs are included in the figures). The feral cats that are caught an not re-released are place up for adoption to farms and country homes where the cats are necessary to control the overpopulation of rodents. I need to contact the shelter and arrange to pick up a couple more feral cats for my area. One of my neighbors who lives about a mile away needs cats to control the mice that have invaded his home. Since I live so far out in the country, the mice are plentiful and the cats are scarce. We have three that live in my sector (two live at my home) but it isn't enough to control the mice.
@bizness (841)
• United States
25 Oct 12
That is wonderful! As I said, I love hearing where this works and I am hoping that with results like that more cities, countied and states will give it a try. Thanks for the information!
• Canada
24 Oct 12
In the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area, we have have colony caretaking for about 20 years from what I've heard. I've been a caretaker for just over a year now, had one colony cat neutered, only to find him missing after about a year of being back out there. I don't know what has happened to him. But the Humane society has spayed/neutered over 1000 cats since launching their free program for feral cats. It has been working up here and that's a good thing. Our vets only ear tip though, easier to see since most feral cats wont allow you to look for a tattoo on them.
@bizness (841)
• United States
25 Oct 12
Again I am so excited to hear how well it works! We are working diligently here in Georgia to fight for the TNR program. Wish us luck! And thanks kris182_2000 for responding!
@mariaperalta (19096)
• Mexico
24 Oct 12
I think its a great program. We have it here in Mx. Has helped alot. We used to have thousands of cats running around here. This has been cut down alot.
@bizness (841)
• United States
24 Oct 12
Outstanding! I live in Paulding County Georgia and am with a newly formed group here called NO Kill Paulding. We are trying to help advocate for animal welfare and one of the programs we are hoping to implement is TNR. We are doing pretty good thus far. Had our first event on this past Sunday. Went well. We had a TNR workshop. We have a facebook page that is doing ok so far. Thanks for responding!