Today we are having a little Feline FYI for Caturday.
Have you ever seen a cat with a tipped ear?
Well if you never have… now you know what it is if you do see it.
Lets delve a little deeper:
From the ASPCA:
What Is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?
TNR is the method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies, and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives. TNR also involves a colony caretaker who provides food and adequate shelter and monitors the cats' health. TNR has been shown to be the least costly, as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations.
How Does TNR Help Feral Cats?
Through TNR, feral cats can live out their lives without adding to the homeless cat population. “It is very important to have all feral cats spayed/neutered because it is the only 100-percent effective way to prevent unwanted kittens,” says Aimee Christian, ASPCA Vice President of Spay/Neuter Operations. “Feral cats are prolific reproducers.”
Furthermore, by stabilizing the population, cats will naturally have more space, shelter and food, and fewer risks of disease. After being spayed or neutered, cats living in colonies tend to gain weight and live healthier lives. Spayed cats are less likely to develop breast cancer and will not be at risk for ovarian or uterine cancer, while neutered males will not get testicular cancer. By neutering male cats, you also reduce the risk of injury and infection, since intact males have a natural instinct to fight with other cats. Spaying also means female cats do not go into heat. That means they attract fewer tom cats to the area, reducing fighting. If cats are sterilized and live in a colony that has a caretaker, they may live more than 10 years.
How Does TNR Benefit the Community?
TNR helps the community by stabilizing the population of the feral colony and, over time, reducing it. At the same time, nuisance behaviors such as spraying, excessive noisemaking and fighting are largely eliminated, and no more kittens are born. Yet, the benefit of natural rodent control is continued. Jesse Oldham, ASPCA Senior Administrative Director of Community Outreach and the founder of Slope Street Cats, an organization dedicated to feral cat welfare, notes, “TNR also helps the community's animal welfare resources by reducing the number of kittens that would end up in their shelters—TNR creates more space for the cats and kittens who come to them from other avenues.”
What Is a Colony Caretaker?
A colony caretaker is an individual (or group of individuals) who manages one or more feral colonies in a community. The caretaker keeps an eye on the cats, providing food, water, shelter, spaying/neutering and emergency medical care. In most cases, organizations and vets know these people because of the community service they provide. Some shelters and rescue groups even give out free or low-cost spay/neuter coupons to colony caretakers.
I was a colony caretaker. The pic above is two of the cats from a colony I TNR’ed. We TNR’ed 12 cats and removed 17 kittens from the property. That’s 17 kittens that went to good homes as healthy spayed and neutered cats. And 12 cats that were feral and came back to live their life on the farm they were abandoned at.
It was very sad to me to see these cats sick and unhealthy because all they were were baby making machines and territory fighters. It was just bad. :( They could never get healthy. And even when the kittens were healthy they would end up dead on the road. I can’t tell you how many. Feeding them alone did no good. It only made the humans feel better. But sadly it really just allowed the cats to continue to reproduce and die, reproduce and die. :( A tragic cycle.
They were not mean cats. Though they would seem scary to a human not used to their feral behaviors. They would lunge and hiss and growl and swipe at me the first few months I cared for them. But not because they wanted to hurt me… because they thought I was going to hurt them.
So I set out to give them a better life and stop the cat population on my road from growing any more than it already had.
I contacted my local humane society and was pleased to find out they had just started a TNR program in place for my county if I would be their caretaker. They wuld spay and neuter, test and vaccinate and take care of fleas, worms and ear mites. I jumped right at it!
We trapped them, took them in to be speutered and then returned them to the property.
I was lucky enough to rehome one sweet cat from the colony and then spent 3 months taming this one so she could go live with her sister.
I spent hundreds of hours on that concrete porch just sitting there… waiting for her to realize I meant her no harm.
And look at that sweet face. You can’t tell me it wasn’t worth my time and effort.
The population of cats has dwindled and those who were spayed and neutered and returned to the farm have moved on as time has passed. Someone finally moved into the house after it went to auction and there is a big dog there now. I am hopeful that the TNRed cats moved on to the other farms in the area and are still keeping our area as their territory. I am confident that is the case as the stray cats are nary seen these days.
The one thing I am certain of is that where ever they are… they aren’t making more babies and I am very happy about that.
If ever I am called upon to again TNR cats or care for a colony I would jump in and do it right away without hesitation. It is the BEST thing you can do for stray cats!
Until next time…
Carmen and the Primcats