Trap-Neuter-Return & Feral Cats
First, what is a feral cat?
Feral cats are homeless cats that live independently and are not socialized to human contact. They are the primary result of pet abandonment as well as owners failing to spay and neuter their own personal pets, allowing them to breed uncontrolled. Feral cats can rarely be domesticated to become pets and are usually cautious around humans that they aren't familiar with. This is different from a stray cat, which is a former housecat that has been abandoned or lost and is now homeless.
What is "Trap/Neuter/Return" aka "TNR"?
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a process where a feral cat is trapped, neutered or spayed by a vet,
where it was trapped. While at the vet, the cat also receives
vaccinations and medical care as needed.
An ear is "clipped", which means the tip of one ear is clipped off. This doesn't affect the cat afterward - its hearing is still functional - this is just to identify the cat as having been neutered or spayed so if the cat is ever trapped again, it will be immediately released because it will be known that the cat is already "fixed."
Why do we do TNR?
Studies have proven that TNR is the single-most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to local governments and residents. TNR provides a much higher quality of life for cats. Cats can average three litters per year and kittens as young as five months old can reproduce. Bringing in one cat to be sterilized not only improves the quality of life for that animal, it also saves the lives of countless unwanted kittens. A cat can have a litter of kittens every 4 to 5 months. The rate of reproduction is exponential. For example, assuming that every litter of kittens has 2 males and 2 females...
In January, a cat has four kittens, (total of five felines).
the mother will be having a second litter and
each of her original female kittens will have kittens of their own (4 kittens per litter will total thirteen
By December, the mother will be having another litter, her first three kittens will be having their second litters, and the kittens born in June will be having their first litters. That's a total of 29
cats and kittens from one mother in a single year.
Why do we release the cats after TNR?
As mentioned above, feral cats rarely make good house pets, but there are some exceptions. Sometimes a stray housecat gets abandoned or lost and joins a feral colony. These cats can often be reintroduced to human companionship and become adoptable to a new family. Another example is very young kittens that are trapped. If they are around 8 weeks or younger they can usually become loving pets before taking on any feral traits. When a pregnant cat is trapped, she will be kept and fostered until her kittens are born and old enough to adopt. The mother will then be released back to her colony if she cannot be domesticated.
Venice Cat Coalition are no longer able to provide TNR assistance so, if
you are aware of feral cats in our area, please contact the following organizations:
- St. Francis Animal Rescue (SFAR): 941 492-6200
- Community Cats of Charlotte : 941 249-4078
If you need trapping information follow this link to
Alley Cat Allies
who are a national organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats.