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Strategies for saving feral cats (and their offspring, who can make up the bulk of the kitten population in our shelters) cannot rely solely on aggressive adoption programs or strategies appropriate for healthy and
treatable pets. The answer for feral cats lies in community based programs that allow them to live out their lives side by-side with the rest us, while we devise other programs to humanely control their numbers  Nathan J. Winograd,


What are Feral Cats?    

The term Feral covers a lot of ground.  It ranges from those who live in back allies and in the wild and are completely 'untouched by human hands' to working barn cats to the free spirits that wander through different dooryards seeking food and shelter.  How do social animals like cats become feral?  Many are the offspring of companion animals who were abandoned or dumped. 


What can be done for Feral Cats? 

Conventional rescues often regard feral cats as untreatable.   Yet controlling feral cat populations in a humane way does not have to mean catching and killing them.  Shelters and rescues are already overflowing with friendly, socialized house cats.  Trap Neuter Return is widely recognized as the most effective and humane way to reduce feral cat populations.


How does TNR work? 

Cat colonies are humanely trapped and brought to vet clinics where they are tested for Feline Leukemia, vaccinated, health checked and spayed or neutered.  After surgery, they recuperate for a day or two and then are returned to the the colony where they will live out their natural lives.


Why is TNR an effective solution?  

Because the cats cannot reproduce, colonies will gradually grow smaller instead of increasing.  Colonies become more stable because the cats are healthier and do not wander and fight.


Do feral cat caregivers create cat colonies? 

No.  The colonies already existed.  Caregivers feed the cats so they don't wander.  With TNR, the cat colonies cannot grow.


How can the caregivers tell which cats have been neutered?   

 Most vets will notch an ear to identify the cat has been spayed or neutered.


Is anyone who feeds stray cats a caregiver? 

No.  Unless they have Trapped, Neutered and then returned the cats to their original place, they are only feeding the cats.  Unless the cats are neutered, they will keep reproducing and problems will escalate as the population does.


Why go to all this trouble when feral cats live such short lives? 

Cats in a colony will live longer and healthier lives after TNR.  In many cases the hardships they face are no different than the ones all wildlife live with.  We wouldn't dream of killing raccoons, squirrels, beaver, etc.  Feral cats deserve compassion and protection for their whole lives.


What about the other wildlife? 

 TNR does not release cats in new locations, it returns the colony to its point of origin.  Every reputable study to date has shown that claims of cat predation affecting bird and wildlife populations are wholly overstated, and that the true causes of population declines are factors such as habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and drought.


TNR Reduces Costs to Taxpayers
In addition to being the most humane, effective, and healthy option for controlling feral cat populations, TNR is also the most cost-effective. TNR and colony management by compassionate individuals is accomplished wholly at private expense while trapping the  cats and taking them to animal control agencies requires taxpayer dollars for intake, housing, handling, feeding, killing and "disposal."


The Nova Scotia SPCA and the  Canadian Federation of Humane Societies have taken a position of  support for  TNR.  



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