Tagged: feral cats

Feral cat trap-neuter-release programs increase shelter space and decrease killing of healthy animals

Nathan Winograd, founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center based in Oakland, Calif., established an 11-point “No Kill Equation” plan to guide municipal shelters into becoming no-kill facilities.

His first strategy is the organization of Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs for feral cats.

Alley Cat Allies of Bethesda, Md., explained that TNR programs involve safely trapping feral cats and taking them to veterinarians who will neuter and vaccinate them. Once the animals have recovered from surgery, “the cats are returned to their home – their colony – outdoors. Kittens and cats who are friendly and socialized to people may be adopted into homes.”

Whether feral cats are born in the wild or run away from domestic environments, no kill advocates support the cats’ right to live – just as they would support the live-and-let-live response most people have to raccoons, squirrels, birds and the like.

As more communities recognize the benefits of the TNR strategy, local governments are legislating these programs to ensure that shelters provide feral cats with an alternative to being killed when captured by animal control.

No Kill 101,” published by the No Kill Advocacy Center, says, “The decision to end an animal’s life is extremely serious, and should always be treated as such. No matter how many animals a shelter kills, each and every animal is an individual, and each deserves individual consideration.”

Feral cats know how to survive in the wild, so animal lovers do not need to worry about their survival. Returning spayed and neutered feral cats to their chosen habitats will reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters because they are not breeding. Additionally, rescue groups typically foster these cats during their recovery and take care of the medical costs related to surgery and vaccinations.

While cats are under anesthesia, veterinarians clip off a quarter inch of the cats’ left ears to show that they have been neutered and vaccinated. This universal symbol allows treated cats to be left alone.

While Winograd strongly advocates for TNR programs, he also believes that that people should choose to spay and neuter their pets based on actual statics – not exaggerated ones. He contends that the main reasons to neuter dogs and cats are to reduce the number of animals that enter shelters and to stop needlessly killing healthy, adoptable animals.

Best Friend Animal Society in Kanab, Utah established itself as a no-kill facility in 1984. Best Friends is the “largest no-kill sanctuary” in the U.S. and has been a “flagship for the no-kill movement” for 30 years.

Along with PetsMart Charities, Best Friends started Community Cat Projects in two large cites in the west. Statistics in 2014 show a decrease of cats entering the shelters by 21 percent and a decrease of euthanasia by 84 percent from the shelters’ 2011 numbers.

PetsMart Charities also supports the TNR method for free roaming cats and has published steps to start grassroots programs and provided resources to help growing programs.

 

The Blount County Humane Society in Maryville, Tenn., – with the help of the Maryville Animal Shelter – currently has a barn cat program in which spayed and neutered cats are placed on farms where they can roam freely and provide property owners with rodent control.

A Time 4 Paws in Crossville, Tenn. is also working on developing this program for Cumberland County.

For more information about how to help with these programs, contact A Time 4 Paws at 931-456-6906 or the Blount County Humane Society at 865-382-7652.