Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let’s Talk About (Cat) Sex

Last week, I wrote a blog post called 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


  1. I started doing TNR in our neighborhood. In one summer we got 10 adults and rescued 5 kittens (who were adopted out). Since then, no new cats and we should have no new kittens in the spring. I am lucky in that we have a local low cost clinic that does ferals same day without an appointment - and it is cost effective.

  2. I hopes sumday fur a successful sterilizashunz via noms program

  3. Pandy - if someone came up with that program, there would be no problem with pet overpopulation!

  4. I probably do not know enough about it to comment, because I did not even realize it was such a anti hot topic (I went back and read that VERY LONG COMMENT) but thank you for continuing to educate me. xoxoxo
    Lisa, Madi and Abi

  5. TNR is the only humane method of managing the feral cat population. Kudos to you for your dedication to them!

  6. I second what Kim said and I happen to have a friend who started a nation-wide low cost spay and neuter program called "Nooter's Club" go to www.nootersclub.org and you can find a directory of low-cost spay/neuter clinics throughout the country.

    It is the PEOPLE who should be educated so that cats will stop suffering.

  7. I'm all for the TNR Program, and we do have one in our city. It truly is the humans that need to be educated.

  8. Thanks to everyone for your comments! It's good to know so many people support TNR. I believe that responsible pet ownership also includes spaying or neutering your pet. Spay/neuter programs are crucial to reducing pet overpopulation and homeless. Thanks again!