What is TNR?
TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) is the only humane way to deal with a feral cat colony.
Previous methods for dealing with a feral cat population was trap and euthanize. Not only was this method very expensive and inhumane, but it was shown to be hugely ineffective as new cats continued to show up at the food source.
HARD TO CATCH CATS?
For hard to catch cats, or to catch a specific cat (due to injury, illness, pregnancy) we use our drop trap (pictured here)! This is a big box trap that is attached to a string. This way cats that you do not want to trap can go under, eat, and leave without springing the trap shut. This trap is also very handy for trapping entire families of cats, like the one in the picture.
After being spayed/neutered it is important that the cat stays in a dry, warm place to recover the next day. The cats need to be fully awake from the anesthesia before being released. The cats need to stay inside for 24-48 hours after surgery to recover/wake up. Keeping them inside for longer than that can be problematic because some ferals are too stressed to eat or drink while they are inside.
Returning these cats to their home colony is very important because they keep new cats from moving in to the location, stopping the growth of the colony. There are many studies that show that removal of feral cats does not help reduce the feral cat population.
We use humane (pain free) traps to catch these feral cats and get them to the clinic. This picture shows a typical box trap that we would use to catch these ferals. Good, smelly food goes in the back of the trap and the cats go in to get the food and step on the trip plate and the trap closes behind them.
The cat is brought into the veterinary clinic where they are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and ear tipped!
Ear Tipping is the removal of a tiny portion of the top of one of their ears. This is done under anesthesia and is completely painless. The ear tip shows other rescues, animal control, and shelters that these cats have already been TNR'd. This prevents these cats from ending up at the shelter and being euthanized. It also ensures that these cats are not retrapped and anesthetized again.
WHAT HAPPENS TO KITTENS IN FERAL COLONIES?
One of the biggest issues in feral colonies is over breeding. Kittens in feral colonies have a low chance of survival without intervention. Colony managers can help by interacting with kittens at a young age to help get them socialized. The best chance for a long, healthy life for the kittens is if they can be removed from the colonies and placed in a home.
Without assistance, feral cats frequently succumb to treatable illnesses, such as worms, flea anemia, and panleukopenia.
The ideal window for socialization for these kittens, is under three months of age.