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TNR'd cats living very short lives

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know feral cats don't live as long as one that's taken care of..but my husband and I have been doing TNR for over 1 year now and we're concerned (concerned isn't the word really, I mean other people sees no benefit in what we do b/c the cats don't live long) it seems as if they (the ferals) would die/dissapear 1 month or so after being returned to their colony.
The first one we TNR'd last year was doing great for 1 month then dissapeared and I asummed she went to the bridge b/c that was last summer.
We had 1 adult and 2 kittens adopted later so they don't count.
Another TNR'd cat was in the colony for about 1 month and has been missing for almost 1 month now so I'm thinking he's gone too
The oldest unaltered feral is 5 yrs old (and awfully trap smart, she walks in and out of traps, I don't know how she does it )..and a poster child for "if it isn't broken, don't fix it"
Maybe the atrittion level is high; the colony is near the railroad tracks, by grain silos, abandoned bldgs, trucks coming and going (and once in a while the city will spray for weeds and kill kittens on the way) so I think all we can do is keep them from reproducing and transmitting disease but not expecting them to live longer than 1 or 2 yrs sad as it is.. does anybody deal with a similar situation?
post #2 of 8
Managed colonies do live a long time. But it depends on the factors, the food being provided, how many are caring for the colonies, if TNR is done quick enough. My oldest feral Cleo turns 12 soon, he has only been indoors a few times in his life, long enough to tell us under no uncertain terms that he hates it.

Yes, there are risks to outside cats, but the risks greatly increase if you do not TNR- There are cat fights, with cats dying slowly from infection, kittens being killed by territorial toms, inbreeding, worms being passed back and forth, fleas and ticks, malnutrition, starvation, Is it worth it to TNR YES! If the cat lives an extra 2-3 years at least you have given this cat a fighting chance to do so.
post #3 of 8
maybe rather than dying they are being adopted?

doesnt neutering them make them a little more homely? i read a story of a woman who neutered the local Tom and mourned his death when a few months later he stopped coming for meals. turns out he had moved in with an old lady down the street.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
<<Is it worth it to TNR YES!>>

I agree wholeheartdly Hissy, I wouldn't stop doing it..I suppose there will always be naysayers..

Mav kit; that's what my husband was saying after the first one dissapeared!..I've no way of knowing, the last feral became tamer so hopefully somebody took him in..I'll see if I can find out..
Thanks for your replies
post #5 of 8
My wily female lived about 11 years and I have 2 more in my colony that are somewhere between 11 and 12 years old. They can live a long life in a managed colony.

I couldn't help but think that perhaps there is something happening to the cats in your colony that you are unaware of. Is there someone in the neighborhood that doesn't want the cats there and are removing them (or I don't want to think it, but killing them)? I've never heard of a colony where so many speuters disappear so quickly. That is usually the exception and not the rule.
post #6 of 8
Well, here's MHO, not that it means anything, but it's the two C's; cars and coyotes and I'm not sure that the second C is much of a factor because I think it depends on where you live and your coyote population. You can say that about the first C, too, depending on your traffic conditions.

I don't know if this will make you feel better, but my Grandma befriended a tomcat that was living under her shed. The cat was never vaccinated, never neutered, and she fed the cat only bread, sometimes bread dipped in gravy, and let him in her house only on the coldest of Canadian winter nights. The cat went missing many times, once for six weeks when she thought he had died. He consequently appeared at her door with cuts and looked beat up like he had been in some fights. This cat lived to be twenty years old.

If you TNR, you just do the best that you can and that's more than sufficient. Bless you for doing such good work! I know how you feel as you get emotionally attached to any cats you have cared for and you hope for their well being under the best of conditions. In her own little way my Grandma helped that tomcat.

There are most likely kind people who see a cat in their yard and leave out food, so a cat could be hanging out where it has a consistent food source. Mating season is here and it's prime time for cat fights and territorial disputes. I've seen two new cats in the woods and our Moo cat, who is neutered, has been aggresively guarding his porch area and backyard. Since Mooie returned from being missing for five weeks, he has rarely left the porch!
post #7 of 8
Even though she was worn down and near death, Nano was already spayed when I rescued her. When I was getting her initial treatment, the vet instructor pointed out that she had been spayed by the animal control people or during a massive S/N project. He said it wasn't a private job done by a vet for a family pet. (I don't know if that is true or reliable, but this is what the vet instructor said without any prompting or curiosity from me...) In my area they apparently do combined S/N days where they process 100+ cats from a variety of sources -- low income, city, TNR, etc. I am no expert so sorry if this information is bad.

So assuming Nano came out of a big S/N project, she is now part of a private home and the population of homeless cats reduced by one. Just keep that in mind -- it is possible a non-negligible amount of TNR cats are eventually adopted by someone.
post #8 of 8
I have been taking care of MotherCat and DaddyCat for three years, Princess for two and Junior, Alyssa and Sicorro for one year. The others, Patches, TippyTail, Siamesee have all chose to leave the colony and go there own way. I my babies don't get hit by a car, or killed by the roaming dog packs, I suspect I will be feeding them for quite some time to come. I noticed one thing, they sure have put on a few much needed pounds.
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