Allison's Book Bag

Animal Ambassadors: Trap Neuter Release

Posted on: May 9, 2016

Can anything be done about homeless cats? Many animal welfare groups advocate for a Trap-Neuter-Release approach to their management, which was the topic of several posts I wrote earlier this year.

First, you need to understand that Trap Neuter Release refers to a program whereby cats are humanely trapped, vaccinated, and spayed/neutered. Those considered unadoptable will also have one of their ears “tipped” (the ear tip is removed to identify the cat as having already been TNR’d), and then will be returned to their colony, which is cared for by volunteers who provide food, water, and shelter. Ideally, any adoptable cats (tame strays or kittens) are placed into foster homes, but the resources for this aren’t always available. Animal welfare groups advocate TNR for the management of feral colonies because they consider it the most humane and effective strategy for reducing feral cat populations. Three of my posts focused on successful TNR programs.

  • Disneyland does TNR! This is the news my husband gave me earlier this year. Ever since I started volunteering for Husker Cats, a volunteer group “working to ensure high-quality life for cats living in feral colonies on campus”, my husband and I have been interested in the topic of Trap-Neuter-Release programs. Disneyland being a well-established entertainment park, the fact they embrace their feral cat colony speaks volumes. To read more, check out my post: How Disneyland & Google Help Cats
  • While searching for positive Trap Neuter Release stories, I frequently came across examples within two very different type of institutions: universities and prisons. I wondered, why would feral cat colonies be found at either of these institutions, and why these institutions care about feral cats? To read more, check out my post: How Universities and Prisons Help Cats
  • Until 1955, Canada’s most famous feral cat colony was located at the Cat Sanctuary of Parliament Hill, where cats were employed as natural exterminators of mice and rats. After that date, the cats continued to receive care until recent years, when the last four feral inhabitants were adopted. Being from Canada, I was interested in my birth nation’s Trap-Neuter-Release. To read more, check out my post: The Cats of Parliament Hill

Second, you need to understand that “feral” is a term used to describe an undomesticated and homeless cat. Feral cats are considered undomesticated because they have experienced minimal if any human contact. However, the term “feral” is not a straightforward one, because any cat that lives outdoors and does not have an owner can end up in a feral colony. Thus, The Feral Cat Project stresses that it is equally important to understand that it can be difficult, if not impossible, “to differentiate whether a frightened cat was born without human contact, formerly had human contact and became un-socialized from living on its own or if it is simply frightened.” One of my posts covered the various faces of feral that I have encountered.

  • Trap-Neuter-Release is the most effective program for reducing the cat overpopulation. My first four articles on the topic presented the facts that support that claim. Personally, it wasn’t the facts alone that won me over. Even after wading through all the pros and cons of TNR, the cats themselves are why TNR is dear to my heart. What follows then are the stories behind three unique faces; ones which, if you’re unfamiliar with feral cat colonies, may surprise you. To read more, check out my post: The Faces of Feral Cats

This post is part of the Small Victories line-up. Check out others by clicking on the below graphic.


2 Responses to "Animal Ambassadors: Trap Neuter Release"

It’s such a shame. All living things need a chance to survive.

Have a fabulous day and thank you for this post. ☺

You’re welcome! Community cats are one of my passions. 🙂

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