Why Your Community Should Have a TNR Program!

March 16, 2015

No matter how much you may love cats, you’re likely still not thrilled to be woken up at three in the morning by feral cats serenading each other or fighting over a mate. More and more, though, Americans are looking for better ways to deal with the problem. Not only is the old-fashioned “capture and kill” mode of dealing with feral cats inhumane, it’s notoriously ineffective. Once the local cat population has been rounded up, a new group of cats moves in to fill the vacuum, and the cycle repeats itself.
The same goes for adoption: while some cats are socialized and fond of human company, others will never get over their mistrust. These “unadoptable” cats are often euthanized, leaving them to a fate no better than cats in areas with less humane polices. And even when cats have been successfully adopted, there’s still an ecological niche in your neighborhood that’s just waiting to be filled by more stray and feral cats.
This is where TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs come in. Feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated for rabies. Then they’re released back into the neighborhood. Often, a caretaker will work with community residents to provide safe and natural feline deterrents for areas where cats are a nuisance. They may even set up feeding stations and litter areas to direct cats’ attention to areas where they’ll be more welcome.
Despite the need for a caretaker to act as a community liaison, TNR programs are still more cost-effective than common alternatives. By creating and supporting a non-reproducing cat colony, fewer resources need to be devoted to catching members of a constantly-changing population. Instead, the existing cat population will defend its territory against intruders, while the colony size decreases over time as fewer and fewer kittens are born. And thanks to the lack of annoying mating behavior in neutered cats, there’s a marked decrease in calls to Animal Control.
Studies show that TNR programs lead to neighborhood cats that are quieter, less aggressive, and overall have better relationships with their human neighbors, while the cats themselves live healthier, longer lives. When both human and feline members of your community benefit, what’s not to love?

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