How I Became a Crazy Cat Lady. It was meant to be a light-hearted post about why I have so many pets, but one of the commenters took the opportunity to bash Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs. At that point, I chose not to enter into the debate – but for the sake of clarity let me just say that I DO support TNR programs.
The problem of stray and feral cats is a human problem. These cats are the offspring of domestic cats that people have allowed to roam free without spaying or neutering them. And the problem will not stop until people do something about it.
Some people advocate catching and killing feral cats, but this method is both costly and ineffective. As cats are removed from an area, new cats move in to replace them, rendering the initial removal ineffective.
TNR programs begin with catching feral cats in humane traps. The cats are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped. Then they are returned to their original area, where they are kept in managed colonies. This procedure prevents the birth of new kittens and stabilizes the population.
Most animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States, support TNR. Alley Cat Allies, an organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of all cats, is a leading advocate of TNR programs.
I know that TNR is a hot button for some, with opponents arguing that the procedure has negative impacts on wildlife. Recently, a former National Zoo employee was convicted of attempted animal cruelty for trying to poison feral cats near her home.
While I am not prepared to discuss the fine points of the TNR argument here, I do understand that some people may have questions or concerns regarding the program. I urge you to visit Alley Cat Allies' website to learn more about TNR and their other programs.
Image via AlleyCatAllies.org