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TNR first timer

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, we signed up with a non-profit group here in Phoenix that helps people do TNR with their feral colonies. We had/have about 10 cats roaming the neighborhood. Thursday I got a call saying they had a cancellation for this weekend, so would we be willing to trap this weekend. Sure!

We trapped Saturday night with 9 traps and got 9 cats. (I was told we were very successful for first-time trappers.) Our appointment at the clinic was for 7:30 am Sunday morning. One cat turned out to be previously neutered, so we released him. The others were all successfully "fixed", including one pregnant female. We currently have 8 very unhappy cats trapped in our garage. We're supposed to keep them for at least 24 hours after the surgery to make sure they are all recovering well. When I get home from work, it will be release time. They do have water and a little food in each cage - although none of them seemed too interested.

Will their sutures be ok exposed as they are? Isn't there a high risk of infection so soon after surgery? Is it just something that is risked since there is no where to keep them for a few days while they heal? I'm a little worried about the females especially.

It almost never rains here, but of course, Mother Nature chose to dump on us today. I think it's stopped for now, but there is more in the forcast. I hope they will all be okay. I am contamplating building some sort of shelter in the back yard for them now. My husband isn't too sure about this, but he warms up to most of my ideas eventually.
post #2 of 10
My personal vet and the vets at I-CAN (indiana companion animal network) and also the vets at FACE ( a low cost spay neuter clinic) have told us that males should stay caged for a mnimum of three days and females for a minimum of five days. This is to ensure that the cats have no complications after the surgery and also to reduce the risk of infection.Also with females it ensures that the scar is mostly healed in case of a confrintation with another animal who might go for a soar spot. I am not a trained vet, but My mother and I have been doing TNR for about three years and we just follow the directions givin to us with our first round of cats (there were 7 in the first TNR trip) hope this helped.
post #3 of 10
Hi Red Blur! Welcome to TCS! Before I start in on anything else, I just wanted to say HORRAY! ANOTHER ONE! This is such a wonderful thing you're doing - and whoever told you that was great for your first trapping venture is right. You did FABULOUS! And you've gotten involved just in time - BEFORE KITTEN SEASON! You and hubby are these kitties angels, and - well - welcome to the world of ferals.

Now, to your questions. My hubby and I aren't part of a local TNR group, but here's how we've handled working with the ferals around here (on the advice of our vet). First of all, the ears of the ferals should be notched or "tipped" - I'm assuming this was done? It's a very standard indicator to "cat trappers" that this cat was trapped and has been spayed or neutered. This way when you trap the same cat in the future, you'll know right away.

Also, one thing I don't know if you're doing that we did NOT do and I completely regret is taking pics of the cats when they're trapped. We have no pics of the ferals in any kind of organized fashion, and when you've been doing this for some time, and you get to know the colony, it can be such a kick to see those before and "after" pics. It can also help with identification in the future... a lot of "pros" to having pics. Just a thought.

Males. If it isn't foul weather, we release them after one night.

Females. If it is foul weather, we wait until the weather has cleared up. If it is good weather, we release them after the second night. If they are loose in your garage and not in traps, I'd consider keeping them inside the garage until the weather's better. (I assume they're not in traps, right? If they're in the traps still, I'd let them go. That is far less healthy than wet weather).

Cats are smart. They are survivors. If they're not kittens and have survived through last year or longer, they likely have a warm dry place to go - but we never run that risk.

Are you guys going to be feeding them on an on-going basis? If so, if you want to construct shelter, I say go for it! We love having our "outside" cats around. Well - to be honest, we did rehome them all to a barn, and we always try to find them homes if they get social. (We had three more turn up after rehoming the crew, and one of them has been adopted out, we trapped one , and one has been missing for a while... . ).

Anyway, there are lots of threads here discussing shelters, and they also have links to places that have instructions for constructing various types of shelters, so I'll go hunt those down for you.

Welcome, and feel free to ask questions, chip in with advice as you gain experience, post pics if you take them (we love pics) and, again, CONGRATULATIONS!
post #4 of 10
They should be fine, we keep the males 24 hours then release them, and the females 2 days. Thank you for doing this it is such a neccessary act that needs to be performed by so many all over the world. THank you again!
post #5 of 10
BTW - to learn more, feel free to check out any of the links in my signature line.

Also, if kittens do turn up, please do charge for adoption (it means you're finding someone committed to the kitty), and please use an adoption agreement (there's one that can be customized in a link in my signature line).

www.alleycat.org has LOADS of info about ferals, TNR, etc. Same with www.bestfriends.org .

Now I'll go look for those shelter thread links....
post #6 of 10
OK. Here's just a few, but there is a wide discussion of many shelter types and shelter "do's" and shelter "don'ts"

Shelter links, dos and don’ts: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ght=shelter%2A
All kinds of shelter ideas: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ght=shelter%2A
Marking & cleaning: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...threadid=31294
post #7 of 10
We also keep the males for 24 hours unless the weather is awful. I have a kennel in my garage that we keep them in until the weather clears up.

Believe it or not, the only female that has tried to join my colony was adopted while she was still at the vet being spayed! My plan was to keep her in the kennel for 48 hours unliess bad weather -- longer if necessary.

The kennel I use is collapsable, so I only need to have it set up when necessary.

Oh...my vet also has a huge dog carrier that, when the weather is simply too awful, they will keep the ferals in for a couple of days at no extra charge, until I can pick them up.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the encouragement and tips. The ears were indeed "tipped" for easier ID. I thought about taking pix, but just didn't get around to it, nor could we see them very well in the cages. I'm not sure it would have mattered too much though. There are a few with very distinct coloring, and the rest are all virtually identical being all black or all yellow.

We worked with AZ Cats which is a rather large, well known group now, especially here in Arizona. I believe they helped to bring about policy change with local Animal Care & Control. It's now Maricopa County's AC&C policy to no longer take feral cats. They actually recommend and advocate TNR and refer people to AZ Cats via the website. From what I've read, this seems to be a somewhat unique stance still by a government run AC&C.


I am somewhat involved with a local guinea pig rescue, so I am familiar with animal adoption methodology. A fee, good screening and a good contract is very important - especially with small animals like GPs to avoid snake owners seeking cheap snake food.

I was actually told about AZ Cats by the woman who runs the GP rescue. She was an active volunteer with them for quite awhile. So I have done lots of reading on TNR and feel my basic knowledge is pretty good. I have just never actually done it before, and while they gave lots of instructions, it was a lot to absorb so quickly!

Per instructions, we kept the cats in the traps after surgery. This is why I was concerned as obviously, there is no adequate place for the cats to "potty". My husband released them all before I saw your replies. It was 24 hours at 1pm MST, and starting to smell a bit. So, since the rain stopped, he released them. They all appeared to be in good shape though - he checked to make sure. No bleeding, no limping, all alert.

I thought about letting them be free in the garage, but was afraid to as they don't all get along. These are all pretty wild cats and not very friendly to us or each other. I didn't need any cat fights breaking out in the garage. If we need to trap more in the future (we didn't see any others wander through the yard all day yesterday) then I may consider building some sort of temporary cage system (the collapsable kennel is a great idea - got pix?) that would allow for litterboxes at least. This was all done on pretty short notice since we were originally scheduled for the end of March. I'm just glad we had the garage to keep them warm (the traps were wrapped in blankets also) and sheltered. Not that it gets real cold here.

Anyways, it's been quite an experience. We will be feeding/watering them and we will try to keep an eye out for them. Hopefully they will all heal ok. Thanks again! Sorry for the long post.
post #9 of 10
That is soooooo great!! One of my dear caretaker friends says...if you see 9...you really have 18...so don't be surprized if you find a few "unfixed" cats.

I really admire AZ for their commitment to TNR. I really hope it catches on all over.

Glad that the cats all are ok.

post #10 of 10
I'm glad he released them. I understand not wanting them loose in the garage. Longer term, you may want to consider something like lotsocats has - keeping them in the traps that long is so miserable for the poor dears. That said, I, too, am glad they're all OK, and from others posting here we're familiar with AZ Cats, and they ARE great!
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