Originally Posted by TNR1
Jaclyn....I would rather that if someone wants to care for homeless cats..that they have a plan to provide the spaying/neutering that is required to bring the population under control...
Exactly. Gary and I were contacted by a "friend of a friend" in a town about 4 hours south of here. She was an elderly woman. This is her story.
She started putting food out for two cats she'd seen rather frequently. The "poor dears" looked starved to death and she felt sorry for them. They came to rely on her for food and visited every day. She was so glad to see they survived the winter, and got so fat, even during winter. Of course, they were fat because they were both female and pregnant. When they turned up "skinny" all of a sudden, she guessed what what going on. Of course, not too long after that, the moms turned up with kittens. One had three and one had five. So now she was caring for 10 cats, not two. She didn't mind - they were soooo cute!
She was a little worried about the young cats surviving winter. By Spring, there were only eight cats. But her two original moms made it, so she was really happy. Again, the moms had gotten pregnant - along with three of their kittens from the year before. By summer, she was now feeding 23 cats and kittens. It was a "little overwhelming" now.
And the building management was NOT happy about it. The building was a "no pets" building to begin with. They sent out a notice that tenants were NOT allowed to feed outdoor animals - anyone caught doing so would be evicted.
She called all the local shelters. They were full. Animal control could come and trap the cats, but because they were feral cats, they would just euthanize them. She really didn't want to seem them killed - what can she do?
Had she simply contacted us two years before, there would have been two cats to trap and spay, not 23 to trap and spay/neuter and relocate.
We were able to find help for these cats.
And I understand she's on a fixed income and couldn't afford to have the original two spayed - let alone trap them. It seems a daunting task to someone of her years. However, even for the people or organizations that can and are willing to help in situations like this, for them, trapping and fixing two cats takes a lot less effort, time, and costs a lot less than fixing 23.
I own a website called Stray Pet Advocacy (http://www.straypetadvocacy.org)
. Those of us involved with the website advocate the humane treatment of cats. Cats are domesticated animals, and to feed them without taking any other responsibility for them is to treat them as if they are wild animals. Feral cats think, act, and can survive as wild animals, and they're terrific at procreation. But spraying males marking their territory invite complaints from humans, cats in heat create noise, which invites complaints from humans, and cats fighting over females in heat or over territory creates noise and injured cats, which invites complaints from humans - which result in animal control treating them like a pest and simply murdering them.
I believe humane treatment means either letting nature take its course - or being responsible about caregiving to a domesticated animal that has become wild through the actions of humans in the first place.
"TNR" means Trap-Neuter-Release. It is a proven method of caring for wild cats that cannot be approached. The idea is to provide for the cat - but not enable the cats to procreate. Of course it is traumatizing to the cat to be trapped in a humane trap, transported to a vet, be spayed or neutered, and then be released where the cat was trapped. However, I believe it is far more humane to spay or neuter the cats than to be responsible for aiding in the creation of more homeless cats. And having had to deal with what feeding 2 cats without having them sterilized can do - I have to say Yes, I find the humane thing to be either being responsible, and doing what's right for the cats - or doing nothing at all.
Of course I care about the two cats that are on your property today. But I also care about the "23 cats" that may be on your property two years from now.
I didn't know anything about TNR programs when we started feeding our first wild cat. We all start somewhere, and TCS is all about helping people learn what to do for cats. That's how I came to learn about TNR in the first place. http://www.pets911.com
is a great resource. Just type in your zip code and a list of organizaitons that may be able to help in your area pop up. They may be able to trap the cats for you - they may be able to lend you a trap. There are low-cost spay/neuter resources you can also click on to see what's in your area. And if you don't find anything there, try the other links listed in my signature line for low-cost spay/neuter services. Sometimes there are free clinics, so money is no obstacle. If you live in a rural area, try calling around to different vets. They may have traps available for your use.
There are a lot of resources out there. But you have to know to look for them - and if you don't have the money to buy a trap or pay for spaying and neutering, it does take more time and effort to find the people or organizations that can and want to help. But they're out there.
Please consider doing what you can to find a way to have the kitties you're caring for trapped and sterilized.