TRAP – NEUTER – RETURN
For decades people in the United Kingdom have practiced a successful way to curb uncontrolled reproduction of free-roaming cats. Now in the USA, corporate executives, men and women, retired senior citizens, lawyers, artists, children, teachers, college students, people on disability, people with no homes: all care for cats.
Many misconceptions about feral and free-roaming cats are disproved and better understood through observing managed colonies.
TNR SUCCESS STORIES – FAMOUS COLONIES TO CONSIDER
The Catman of Parliament Hill
In his 80’s, Rene Chartrand feeds a colony of cats living on the grounds of the Canadian Parliament. Chartrand has fed the cats every day since 1987 reportedly missing only one day, the day his wife died. Before Chartrand, Irene Desormeaux began feeding these legendary cats in the late 1970’s. As friends, Chartrand took over when she died. No government funds support these cats, but they have custom built shelters, are fed daily and receive veterinary care as needed near the nation’s capital.
Project Bay Cat
Kittens seemed to ooze from the rocks in Foster City, California, a sensitive area for an unusual bird species, the California Clapper Rail. The Homeless Cat Network wanted the cats to stay. The Sequoia Audubon Society wanted the cats to go. The local government of Foster City wanted complaints to end. When all three groups worked toward an interest-based solution, they all won. The cats were TNR’d. Of originally 170 cats, sixty were adoptable. Strategically-located feeding stations keep the cats well fed and away from nesting areas. The Clapper Rail and other migratory birds using that region are thriving.
Stanford Cat Network
With 1500+ cats on the Stanford University campus in 1989, action was inevitable. Trap and “remove” was the original plan until the Stanford Cat Network was formed and entered into an agreement with University officials. Through the commitment of students, faculty, University staff and community volunteers, the current number of cats on campus is estimated at 200. Adoptable cats have been removed. Unadoptable cats were TNR’d. Attrition by age and natural causes has reduced the population humanely.
Newburyport, Massachusetts, Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (ECFCC received 2 grants from them – pilot program & a matching grant)
Again a small group of compassionate people sought to find a solution for the homeless cats facing the harsh New England winters. Local government listened and agreed. Local citizens pitched in and succeeded. Ten years later, the original colony cats are between 11 and 14 years old.
The Atlantic City Boardwalk Project
With an estimated 350-400 cats living under the boardwalk, complaints were plenty. Slated for euthanasia, the Cat Action Team was formed to protect the cats and offer TNR alternatives. Once trapping began, approximately 60% were removed for adoption or socialization. The other 40% returned to their homes under the boardwalk. Signs posted by the city educate newcomers of the do’s and don’ts. DO enjoy the cats. DO NOT feed them or dump new cats.
And the not-so-famous, elderly lady in Edmonds, Washington
In her little apartment within this large complex, she fed a colony of 15-20 cats. Younger residents got to know her cats, all missing a tip off of one ear. She shared wisdom: spay/neuter, care for one another, live and let live, yet she worried about what would happen to the cats when she was gone.
Educating the younger residents unknowingly secured the future for her free-roaming cats. As she lay in the hospital for the last time, her neighbors conjecture that her time was shortened, because she sacrificed her own care for that of the cats. Though she leaves few material possessions, she left a rich legacy. Her neighbors continue caring for the cats she loved.