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Community cat caregiver now instructs others in Introduction to TNR

Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2021
ear-tipped cat rests next to a fence in an ivy-covered corner

When Peggy Lynch bought her home near Richmond’s Byrd Park in 2002, it came with a surprise feature: A group of community cats were living in the backyard. Though Peggy is a cat lover, these cats had no interest in becoming pets. They had been born outdoors and were unsocialized, never having been handled by people, commonly referred to as “feral.”

Even though she would never be able to touch or cuddle them, Peggy was determined to give them help. That was her introduction to Trap-Neuter-Return. She humanely trapped them one-by-one—there turned out to be 13 in the colony—took them to local clinics for sterilization and vaccination against rabies, and returned them to their outdoor home where she continued to provide food and shelter. Along the way, she also socialized and rehomed kittens that were born as the prolific “Mama Nuit” evaded the trap.

Marylin was one of the community cats who inspired Peggy Lynch’s involvement and advocacy for TNR.

The last of Peggy’s original backyard guests, a black cat she called Fudge, passed peacefully earlier this year. She remains an active member of RVA Community Cats and continues to help with trapping when she learns of unowned cats in need of help. It’s an expertise that she now shares to educate others.

The trainings started out in the field, when she would invite people who wanted to learn to come along when she was preparing to trap cats for sterilization appointments. Word of mouth spread, and now she’s preparing to host an Introduction to TNR at the Richmond SPCA on Sunday, October 3. Peggy will be joined by veteran community cat caretakers Hannah Neathery and Teresa McCartney.

The two-hour session from 6 to 8 p.m. will concentrate on best practices for the safety of people and the cats. Hands-on demonstrations with Havahart traps give first-time trappers confidence to properly bait, capture and transport.

“You don’t need to invest in a lot of equipment, but you need to know how to use it,” said Peggy. “How to set them, move cats around in them, pre-trapping protocol to set yourself up for success,” will all be covered.

Because capacity for this free workshop is limited, please register in advance. Masks and social distancing will be required for the health and safety of attendees and instructors.

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