What is TNR and how does it work?
Community cats, are members of the domestic cat species that are not socialized to people and virtually unadoptable. They typically live in groups called colonies where they form strong social bonds within their community. Community cats make their homes where they find shelter and food. Because community cats are not socialized or adoptable, they do not belong in animal pounds or shelters where virtually 100% of them are euthanized. Instead, they should be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and returned to their neighborhood home.
What is TNR?
TNR, or trap-neuter-release is the humane practice of trapping community cats who cannot be domesticated and brought inside as pets, spaying or neutering them and returning them to their original colony. A female cat can get pregnant when she is less than half a year old and will continue having litters of kittens until she is fixed.
While having the cats gone might seem most convenient for everyone, it is a shortsighted and unrealistic solution for several reasons. When cats are removed from any location, whether they are relocated or eradicated, new cats soon move in to take over the vacated area and available food source (garbage, rodents, insects, etc.). In just a few months two intact cats can repopulate the area. New cats that move in to fill the void are likely to introduce disease and worsen nuisance behaviors. TNR of these cats proved to be humane, economical, and socially acceptable. A stabilized cat colony on the property site will deter other new cats from moving into the area. Still, newcomers may appear and do so usually, in increments of one or two at a time. These newcomers should be trapped immediately and vetted, as they are typically hungry and may be oblivious to consequence of the trap.
Relocating a cat colony is burdensome for both the caretakers and the cats. Ideal areas in which to move the cats are few and far between. Proper relocation requires some vital period of confinement, in order to keep the cats from traveling back to the original site. Community cats become very attached to their colony site so they will likely experience some separation anxiety. Various measures can be taken to ensure that the cats do not create a nuisance on a given property. Sterilization alone eliminates most nuisance behaviors such as territorial fighting, and marking. Unobtrusive feeding stations can be devised so as to not inconvenience anyone by being an eyesore of sorts. Many people become anxious at the sight of several cats feeding in one area. Also, feeding stations and shelters should be moved as far away from human activity (parking lots, sidewalks, roadways) as possible. Limited interaction with the cats during feedings will ensure that they remain elusive and untrusting of all humans, therefore keeping their distance from human activity.
TNR works. No more kittens, cats’ lives and health are improved, and the population stabilizes and declines overtime. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating such as yowling and fighting stop.
How does TNR work?
The problem of pet overpopulation and overcrowded shelters is obvious and the plight of unowned community cats has captured the hearts of animal lovers for years, but the solution can be harder to see. Targeted Trap-Neuter-Release is the only proven method for ending the needless deaths of community cats, and successfully controlling free-roaming cat populations.
Rather than attempting the impossible task of saving thousands of unwanted cats each year, Cat Around Town focuses on the root of the problem – more kittens are born each year than there will ever be homes for. We believe that by spaying and neutering as many stray and community cats as possible, we are proactively controlling overpopulation at its source. All kittens and any cats that are adoptable are removed from the colonies and adopted to suitable homes. One day, when the supply meets the demand, there will be a home waiting for every kitten in our community.
Community cats are trapped and each cat passes through a complete workup with medical care, including examination, surgery, vaccinations, treatment for fleas and parasites, and ear tipping for identification as a graduate of the program.