Trap neuter return or TNR is the only method proven to be humane and effective in controlling the feral cat population. Feral cats are trapped altered and returned to their territory. Very often feral cats form colonies where they can be fed and provided shelter. Any kittens young enough to be socialized or friendly adults will be taken into rescue and re-homed.
Trap and remove, the traditional method of dealing with stray and feral cats, is simply ineffective and inhumane as feral cats are euthanized upon entering a pound or shelter. Even if all the cats are removed from a colony new unaltered cats will move in to take advantage of whatever food or shelter that is available and start the cycle all over again.
Freya newly spayed waiting to be released into her territory
What Is A Feral Cat?
Feral cats originated from former domestic cats who were lost or abandoned. In order to survive they learned to live outdoors or in environments involving little human contact. They live in warehouses, under buildings, close to restaurants or in dumpsters because even though they are feral they still depend on humans for their survival. Abandoning a cat in unfamiliar surrounding is very often a death sentence for them because of the mistaken belief they can survive by hunting. They can't and many die a slow death of starvation and dehydration.
A truly feral cat is difficult if not impossible to socialize and re-introduce to domestic life. It is more compassionate to allow them to live outdoors. Trap Neuter Return respects the feral cats state and by neutering and spaying it prevents tremendous suffering and the birth of hundreds of homeless kittens, many of whom will not survive and are susceptible to illness.
What Is TNR?
Types Of Traps We Use
For trying to trap a number of cats at once we use a drop trap. It is baited with tuna or sardines and then we simply wait until we have the cat or cats inside and pull the string to drop the trap. It is made of very light wood and covered with netting to minimize any injury to the cats. Once it's dropped we cover the trap to calm the cats and then use transfer carriers to remove and transport to the vet.
For single cats we use the live trap, raccoon size. Very often we use this type of trap to catch a single cat and have to leave them unattended. It is vital that they are checked often and cover the trap before moving the cat. Never trap in cold temperatures unless you are present.
We strongly urge not relocating feral cats. Feral cats are very territorial and have deep ties to their original home. They form strong bonds to other cats in their colony and will attempt to return to their home territory, very often at their peril.
It takes a lot of planning and organization to trap feral cats. Vet appointments have to be made in order to have the clinics on standby never knowing how many you will be able to catch if any. We bring everything along because we never know exactly what type of situation we will encounter. Our latest venture involved trapping and removing 8 cats from a farm that had been sold and was scheduled for demolishing. The cats could not stay there even though we typically don't like removing them from familiar surroundings. We found suitable farm homes for them and ensured they knew to lock them up with food and water for two weeks at least so they would hopefully acclimate to their new area.