Regardless of your position on feral and free-roaming street cats, the best way to deal with them is
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A “CAT-LOVER” TO SUPPORT TNVR. YOU SIMPLY NEED TO SHARE THE GOAL OF FEWER CATS ON OUR STREETS.
Regardless of your position on feral and free-roaming cats, the best way to deal with them is Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR). TNVR is the internationally accepted, effective and humane method of controlling feral and free-roaming cat populations. TNVR has been practiced for decades in the U.S. and is successfully practiced in hundreds of communities and in every landscape and setting.
TNVR is based on continued colony management and it is this responsible management that helps insure the success of TNVR. Feral and free-roaming “community” cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, evaluated, and eartipped to identify them as spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Animals whose suffering cannot be alleviated are euthanized.
After recovery, the cats are returned to their home—their colony—outdoors. A feral colony caregiver provides food and shelter and monitors the colony for new arrivals. Caregivers monitor for sick cats they can vet and for newcomers that need to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Whenever possible, tame adults and kittens that can be socialized are removed from the colonies and evaluated for adoption.
OTHER METHODS FOR ERADICATION DON’T WORK
Doing nothing and using ineffective approaches are what have resulted in the current cat overpopulation problem. Trying to rescue all of the feral and free-roaming cats and find them homes is impossible given their numbers and limited socialization. Removing all of the feral and free-roaming cats invites new unneutered cats to move in and the cycle of reproduction starts again.
People assume that the quick solution of removing feral cats will make everything better. Yet eradication programs have proven to be ineffective because new cats just move in. Trying to simply remove feral cats from their territory – whether to trap and kill, euthanize, rescue, relocate to another site or place in a sanctuary – does not lower the number of feral cats. New cats replace the old ones and nothing much changes in terms of overpopulation and nuisance behavior. There is something about the location that brought the original cats there that will keep bringing more cats to the location, whether it is shelter or food source. This pattern is termed the vacuum effect.
TNVR OFFERS A LONG-TERM SOLUTION
Leaving the cats where they are and spaying or neutering them through TNVR is the only hope for improvement. Sterilizing a sufficient percentage of the cats breaks the reproductive cycle and the combination of sterilization and attrition can gradually lead to a reduced population.
TNVR stabilizes the population (fewer to no births), results in lower animal control costs, taxpayer dollars, reduces nuisance complaints by residents, address neighbors’ concerns, alleviates public health concerns, improves the cats’ lives, saves and helps the entire community reach a solution that benefits everyone. Support of TNVR, along with an aggressive public education program emphasizing the benefits of spaying and neutering, is critical in the effort to stem the feral and free-roaming cat populations in communities across Western New York.
For long-term success, TNVR must be a collaborative effort. Collaboration is especially important when TNVR is practiced on a community wide scale. Members of the local animal welfare community, including shelters, rescue groups, veterinarians, and colony caregivers, must work together. The municipality—including animal control officers, public health officials, and elected officials need to be partners in the effort. Community residents should be educated and consulted so they do not resist or resent the process.
BENEFITS OF TNVR
- A TNVR program will stabilize feral/free-roaming cat populations by ending reproduction. The population will eventually decline.
- The nuisance behavior often associated with feral and free-roaming cats is
dramatically reduced; including the yowling and fighting that come with mating activity and the odor of unneutered males spraying to mark their territory. Noise of cats fighting over mating rights is eradicated. Male urine spray smells are eliminated.
- Calls to authorities about cats decrease significantly and community morale improves.
- TNVR improves cats’ lives. Cats live healthier, more peaceful lives after TNVR.
- TNVR protects cats’ lives. Nearly 100% of feral cats entering shelters are killed because they cannot be adopted.
- TNVR stops wasteful spending. Catching and killing cats has been a futile effort used by animal control and shelters across the country for decades. Continuing an approach that is clearly not working is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
- Public health benefits of maintaining healthy, neutered, rabies-vaccinated feral cats in their environment through TNVR far outweigh any possible public health threats.
IN SUPPORT OF TNVR
Watch this wonderful video produced as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award Project on the effectiveness of TNVR programs at humanely reducing feral cat populations.