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First post here--contacting neighbors about stray cats

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi. I have been thinking about doing TNR for a small group of cats around my apartments. I have read much of the info on the Alley Cat Allies website. I would like to put notices around the area asking if anyone is feeding these cats, owns a free-roaming cat or know anything about any of these cats. I would like to indicate that I am thinking about TNR and asking for help or feedback. I also want to advise anyone who has a free-roaming cat to put a collar on it. Does anyone have any suggestions for wording of these notices? I am not comfortable about posting my phone number or address, so I am not sure how I can provide any contact info. I will be doing this on my own, so I don't have any organization to refer people to. Someone suggested I create a generic email address--has anyone done this? Any suggestions on notifying neighbors would be greatly appreciated.

I have been in contact with someone who has done some trapping in my area, but there is no larger organized TNR program in my community. I think I will be able to borrow some traps from this person as well as work with a local vet. I am thinking of starting the trapping in about a month or so, if all goes well. I just want to get started by putting the word out there. Again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 18
I dont have many suggestions at that moment. Or rather, I dont have examples from reality.

But your plans seems good and proper. Excellent!

I had myself several times tried suggest something like that as a solution to local problems with semiferals in a neighbourhood.
I believe in your idea.

There are dangers though. "awaking the sleeping bear". Ie cat-haters and some "people of good order", who were too lazy to do anything before, but now may be triggered by your try to help the cats. You shall NOT refrain from, but you must be prepared and have your arguments ready.

Talking about arguments, my favorite is the biblical tale about the good shepherd, who is taking great pains to find the lost sheep and help it back home.
Most cat helpers arent especial religious, they do help (also) from other reasons. But this is a powerful argument against such "friend of order". Who will go against commandments of the Bible? There are also strong tales in jewish and muslim traditions on similiar theme: helping animals in distress.

Thus, in some variations you can perhaps try to talk with your parish priest / preacher??
And get his / hers support?

Please report to us how you are doing and going.

Good luck!
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply and suggestion. I have heard horror stories about people who feel strongly about this procedure, so that is one reason why I do not want to include my name or phone number. I will ask my apartment manager if I can use their phone number, but I don't think they would be willing either.
post #4 of 18
Are you going to be trapping on the Apartments grounds? If so and you have the permission of the apartment manager then I would put up a notice. Something to the following effect:

In order to control the feral/ stray cat population around the ABC Apartments and prevent increasing unwanted litters there will be a TNR program conducted in the area the ( insert dates here).

All trapped cats will be sterilized and ear tipped for future identification. If you own a pet cat that is allowed outdoors please make sure it has a collar and tags on during this period to prevent trapping and a possible unnecessary surgery. There is no way to know if a cat is already fixed with out sedation for male and complete surgery for females. If your cat does not tolerate a collar please keep it indoors during trapping days/nights.

If anyone is feeding or maintaining any feral colony in the area and has information on pregnant females or cats that have already been sterilized and not been eartipped please contact us.

We will be happy to answer any questions and can be contacted at the following email address. ( just get a free yahoo or gmail account and make up a name like FeralCatTNR )

I would use the terms "we" and "us" to give the impression it is more than just you. That way weirdos are not as likely to see you as a target.

If your location has a leash law for cats ( most do even though they are impossible to enforce) no one should be able to complain about having to keep their cats inside on trapping days.

Also in your notice make sure you are specifying the REDUCTION in the breeding population thus a reduction in the number of stray/ferals. If anyone gets hostile let them know that TNR has proved to be the most successful way of reducing populations and give them links to ACA articles.

You are awesome for undertaking this. Keep us posted please
post #5 of 18
You can also contact ACA for free ads and course your contact info thru them.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies and advice. Last night I created a sign and will run it by the apartment managers tomorrow. They have been sympathic with the cat situation. I tried to keep it short. I thought I would add more info about collars or keeping cats indoors in the message closer to trapping time. If the managers do not allow me to use their phone number, then I will create a yahoo email account. Here is what I wrote:



Are you feeding any of the stray cats in our neighborhood? Do you know anything about any of them? Do you own a free-roaming cat? In an attempt to prevent these cats from breeding, some concerned *(apartment name)* residents would like to humanely trap these cats, get them neutered and vaccinated by a vet, then returned to the area. This procedure is being done worldwide to humanely stem the huge cat overpopulation problem.

If you have any information about these cats, want to help, or have concerns, please leave a message with the *(apartment name)* managers at *(phone number)* and they will forward any messages to us.

We plan to begin this trapping procedure some time in April or May. Another message will be posted before that to alert residents to the project.

For more information on this humane trap-neuter-return procedure, see

Concerned *(apartment name)* residents


What do you think?
post #7 of 18
Oh that's fabulous! You did a great job!

Also, I don't know if you've found the resources at Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Campaign yet, but Best Friends and Alley Cat Allies are the only two national orgs. Its address is This is the main page of the NMHP Campaign - over on the left are buttons to lots of things, including their resource library.

Also, you may already have this resource, but if you want to search for shelters in your area that may have low-cost spay-neuter services, this is a great link: There's also a search function for low-cost spay/neuter services there.

This is SUCH a great thing you're doing. Please keep us posted!

post #8 of 18
Wonderful job on the notice! I'm with Laurie, please keep us updated.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the input and support. I talked to the apartment managers and they are (somewhat reluctantly) willing to give it a try; they even allowed me to use their phone number. I made some small modifications to the notice and posted it today. Hopefully I will get more positive than negative responses.

Laurie, thanks the the other links--I hadn't seen them and they were very helpful.

Thanks again. I will keep you posted.
post #10 of 18
I can't tell you how fabulous that is that the apartment managers are willing to let you do this. It can be SUCH a struggle. Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!

post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
It can be SUCH a struggle.
So true.

Great job gwenny&lunasmom!!!
post #12 of 18
There are also another type of arguments you can get against TNR and you must be prepared for:

It is more mercifull to kill them painlessly then let them be TNR:ed. The weather in north parts of US is too severe for them in winter. And so many of them get sick and die a horrible slow death... And such.
If you TNR, you are taking responsibility for and thus you are the owner in the eyes of the law. Do you really want and do copy to be owner of a great bunch of cats??
The veterinarian costs can be rather high!
If it is wellknown there is TNR and the homeless do copy, it will be more easy to dump cats.

(That sort of protests are very common in Sweden. That is a big reason why we dont have much TNR).

Many of these are well wishing people, often really concerned cat-friends. (you can perhaps talk some of them as fosterhomes or to adopt one of the fostered or ex-homecats!).
Some are of course not, they are disguising their cat-hate behind false concern.
In USA it isnt too difficult to meet that sort of arguments, as there are numerous positive american and canadian examples.
In Sweden it is more difficult...

My theory one of the differances between Sweden and f.eks. North America is you have more predating animals. And your dogs are often allowed to go loose - and thus can chase cats (hardly any loose dogs in Sweden). Thus most sick or weak homeless, and many of the bevildered new dumped usually die a quick death quite soon. These who survive long enough to be TNR:ed, are the SURVIVORS. It is why they are usually healthy and copy quite well with help of TNR.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Stefan. I haven't been on this site for a while, so haven't kept up with the messages.

An update on the situation here: I posted my message to my apartments almost 2 weeks ago, but no one responded--positive or negative--to the notice. My one ally, who lives in the same apartments and has been feeding some of the cats, is leery of being involved with TNR. So I must confess I am getting cold feet on this. I think I am getting in over my head. So many people have told me stories about problems that is seems like the cons far outweigh the pros. I am worried about being victimized for caring for the cats or sued or harassed if I trap someone else's cat--concerns I am sure all of you have had. It's just too bad there is no organized project where I live for this type of thing--I would feel much more secure. The local Humane Society has potentially something in the works, but they have their own agenda and it will take some time before things get off the ground--if they do at all.

I feel bad that I am having second thoughts--I still want to do it, but am feeling more and more worried about the potential consequences. I'm sure you've all been there!
post #14 of 18
you shouldnt get sued if you trap someone else's cat IF, you post leaflets about announcing what you plan too do, then if you mention on the leaflet where you can be found and contacted SHOULD one of there cats be missing so they can check out too see if you have it?
just an idea?
post #15 of 18
I understand getting cold feet. But you're not going to be keeping the cats or trying to adopt them out or anything, right? Just spaying and neutering and releasing? I can't imagine why anyone would sue you. If cats are roaming, I don't think there's a legal precedent or basis on which they can sue. And you'd be helping to eliminate a potential problem - more kittens - and they wouldn't have to deal with them. And IF they're breeding on purpose - their cats should be indoors only!

The only thing I'd recommend living in an apartment complex - is don't ear tip. It may mean a trip to a vet or clinic with a cat that has already been spayed or neutered - but then on what basis would anyone complain or sue?

And if no one has expressed concern - then if down the road anyone DOES express concern, the answer is simple. You're helping ELIMINATE the cat problem of the complex by helping to prevent further breeding.

Just a thought and words of encouragement.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies Pixietina and LDG. I am not quite as discouraged as in my last post. Things are looking up. It turns out that there are 2 people in the apartments who expressed an interest in helping out--one has previously done TNR, which is great news. I am feeling better about it now, with a little local moral support.

The only thing I'd recommend living in an apartment complex - is don't ear tip.
Why do you recommend not ear tipping? In case it is an owned cat? Is that a typical practice for apartment complex cats? I just assumed that should be part of the deal--I guess I didn't think it was optional. That is something to think about. Thanks for bringing it up.

Thanks everyone for being here--this has been a great resource.
post #17 of 18
Ear-tipping is generally practiced when TNRing - it quickly identifies cats in the trap as already being spayed/neutered, which can save a lot of time and expense - not to mention stress on the cat(s) and wear and tear on the vehicle (we haven't had a feral cat yet that hasn't peed out of fear on the way to the vet - we cover the back of the car in a thick plastic tarp before putting the trap in).

I don't know how groups handle TNRing at apartment complexes - we're rural. I brought it up only in response to your concern over reactions from people where you live. If people where you live let their cats roam, I can see kitty showing up with the tip of the ear missing being the cause of complaints.

If it were us - we'd ear tip. If they're irresponsible enough to let their cats roam in an urban setting, then our feelings about it would be "whatever." We never worried about whether or not any of the cats we were trapping were someone's barn cats - or pets - roaming.

I'm so glad you've found some other interested - and experienced people!

post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by gwenny&lunasmom View Post
I am not quite as discouraged as in my last post. Things are looking up. It turns out that there are 2 people in the apartments who expressed an interest in helping out--one has previously done TNR, which is great news. I am feeling better about it now, with a little local moral support.
That is great news! I think it is very important to have a group. In any case, it is psychologically a lot easier.

You use the words "moral support". Great! These two you mention would be good members in your group, not only "moral support. And.
You could thus also try to recruite "wannabes" and "hangarounds". Ie people who perhaps cant or even dont want to participate actively, but are willing to give you - moral support.
In some ways it will be more difficult to steer the group than being alone or with only a very few determined friends: it is supposed to be democratic. But IF and WHEN it works - you will get GREAT strenght out of this.

And as I said before: some of your opponents and critics may in their own way be truly catfriends. Keep your eyes wide opened!

Good luck!

My blessings follow you.
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