three outdoor cats with tipped ears snuggling close together

TRAP-NEUTER-RETURN

a lifesaving, humane resource

Community Cats and Trap-Neuter-Return

If you have observed a colony of community cats living in your neighborhood, in a park, or around a business, there is important information you should know.

Why are the cats here?

Community cats (also called feral cats) are the offspring of abandoned and free-roaming pet cats that were never spayed or neutered. They live quite independently in an outdoor environment, forming colonies around sources of food, water and shelter. Many are unsocialized to people.

What should be done?

Humane management of community cats is done through an active program of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

Volunteer caretakers humanely trap the cats and bring them to our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital, where we spay or neuter the cats and vaccinate them against rabies at no charge. While the cats are under anesthesia, we “tip” their left ears as a sign that they have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated. Caretakers later return the cats to the only home they have known – the outdoor colony where the cats have been residing. Volunteers will continue to feed the cats to prevent foraging.

Other nuisance behaviors, such as yowling during mating, fighting and territorial spraying, are diminished or eliminated once the cats are sterilized. Vaccination for rabies prevents the threat of disease, keeping the cats healthy and the community safe.

Why not remove the cats?

Because most community cats were never socialized to people, they are not typically susceptible of adoption. Should they be taken to an animal control facility, it would likely result in their being killed. In addition, removing the cats from the property would create what is known as a “vacuum effect.” The existing conditions – food, water and shelter – that allow the existing colony to survive in the area would draw new cats.

Programs of TNR are not only the compassionate, humane choice but also the only effective option as sterilization ends the reproductive cycle that grows the colony.

Request a Trap-Neuter-Return Appointment

Complete our online form or call us at 804-521-1330, extension 4 to request an appointment in our Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital. We loan humane community cat traps to those who have community cat appointments in our hospital.


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