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  #51  
Old 01-13-2007
carrie_cat carrie_cat is offline
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Originally Posted by Sunny
I think all in all and correct me if I am wrong..but it does not lay all on TNR. Yes that cat is spayed or nurtered. i think what it really gets down too is that cat that is going back on the streets. Were it does not get food everyday, no fresh water, no warm place to sleep at night, no love and affection. Outside it has to fight to survive, stuggle with different weather elements, cars, widlife, getting poisoned, disease, etc. I'm sure of cats could talk..they would be pleading to get out of living outdoors.

It's a crappy life for a outdoor cat...as we all know.

Sunny
Sunny,

In a good TNR program (I admit, there are not enough of them!!), that neutered cat goes to a situation where it DOES get regular food and clean water. It may even get a warm shelter with its colony-mates to sleep in. It gets as much love and affection as it got BEFORE it was trapped and neutered and vetted. Yes, cats, and other animals that are born outdoors, fight to survive. No, that isn't the ideal cossetted life you and I want for our pets. BUT, in most cases, I am talking about a cat that has never seen a soft cushion by the fireside. Instead, the feral cats are mostly cats born under a bush.

I agree it is a "crappy" life outside for a tame cat that is used to food appearing in a food dish and used to indoor heat and air conditioning. Abandoned pet cats DON'T last long out on their own, and DO get the worst of the situation at a colony where they are new and strange.

Responsible TNR advocates feel that IF we could provide loving indoor homes for EVERY cat we certainly should. But for the past ... 50 years? ... foster-and-adopt combined with trap-and-destroy have NOT controlled the feral cat population to the point where homes are available for each and every feline. The alternative that we should destroy cats for the audacity of being born outdoors .... that's tough to convince us is just or fair.

There's definitely a place in a good TNR program, for "a good death" -- that is, for euthanasia. Suffering animals always will deserve our help to at least go easily. And sanctuarying definitely also has a place in a good TNR program. It's NOT just trap, neuter and return every single kitten and cat. You need to have a foster-and-adopt outlet for the young kittens, nursing Queens, and a sanctuary program for the old codger, the single remaining cat in a colony that's closing down, the disabled cat.

The threats that you mention, Sunny, are definitely dangers for a formerly owned pet (dog OR cat) that is cast out on its own. But, in our colonies, cats and wildlife seem to respect one another for the most part. And poisoning? We hear about poisoning where there is NOT TNR going on, and where you have a caretaker organization, you have better odds that the FIRST poisoned cat will be noted and his death investigated. Just because a TNR program can't offer world peace, IMHO that does not mean it fails to help the community! <G>

A good TNR program continuously offers monitoring of the cats in it. When a cat seems to not be feeling well, our caretakers KNOW it, and they don't hesitate to get a vet appointment through our program for the cat. Our program vets care deeply about animals -- they seem to be pleased with what they see in the cats. Colony cats in our program are living generally at least 10 years, which is not a bad life for a cat. (Many are adults when TNRd, and are still in the program to date, so I'm allowing about 3 years for their pre-TNR existence).

All of our own cats are indoor-only. BUT, you and I, and all of us, know the arguments about "cats love to be outdoors," and it really does seem to be true, that cats can enjoy being outdoors. A long time ago, I had indoor-outdoor pet cats (blush!). THose cats clearly LIKED to be outdoors, even sometimes when *I* didn't want to be there. I'm not going to accept that any of us totally can know what every creature thinks or feels, so maybe some cats find life outdoors miserable and short; others may find it joyous and thrilling and even happy. I know people of both sorts, so why not animals?

Funny, that when we try and get programs started for *cats*, most people object that we aren't helping *dogs*, and yet, from the other side, here, people seem to think that if we cannot provide cradle-to-grave luxury for cats, then we should destroy cats. There is a huge chasm between what the average person seems to be concerned with for cats, versus what people who favor foster-and-adopt want for cats. TNR is stuck in the middle-ground - it's not heaven but it also isn't a death sentence. I think also, clearly, it is not very well-understood, and best practices take a while to be recognized and spread.
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  #52  
Old 01-22-2007
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UCDW880 UCDW880 is offline
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Sounds like a GOOD TNR program does offer some things for cats, but I'm not hearing everything that I'd need to see for it to coexist with other people in the area I patrol.

First of all, those cats need to be confined. If you want to use one of the cat fencing systems in your yard to provide a sanctuary for these animals, fine.

Feed em, neuter em, provide shelter(which you mentioned they don't always get), great.

But to turn them back loose to bite people, spread disease, poop in flowerbeds, urinate on AC units and on porch furniture, etc., to get severely injured and have those injuries go untreated and so on is just absolutely irresponsible and completely ignores the complaints that are received with these animals.

In more than a half dozen cases that I've dealt with, when the feeder stopped feeding and the cats were removed, the problem was solved. Yes euth is sad and I wish it was unnecessary. But, I stopped having complaints in those neighborhoods and I stopped seeing cats all over in those neighborhoods.

In the 1950's my state was overrun with feral dog packs. There was great concern with rabies, bites and other disease issues. The dog wardens were given the duty to fix this problem. Dogs were captured and often euthanized. We RARELY have feral dog packs any more. So, the method worked. It doesn't work for cats because there is not a concentrated effort by ALL communities to dedicate to it. If we all captured and removed these NUISANCE animals, in a few years the problem wouldn't be so bad. I know it sounds awful, but it would be really nice to be able to focus on tame, escapee cats rather than trying to deal with the tremendous problems the ferals create in a community.

I just don't see how neutering and feeding eliminates all the problems.........disease, bites, injury, property damage, etc.
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  #53  
Old 01-22-2007
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And to add just one more thing. I've seen the TNR programs act to validate animal hoarders. They simply become "outdoor collectors". I've had two of those recently and can think of more in neighboring communities.
Do we really want to encourage and feed the acts of hoarders?

Sorry, this is just one of my soap boxes. I know its not an easy issue and certainly one that's far from being decided or proven.
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  #54  
Old 01-27-2007
carrie_cat carrie_cat is offline
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Default Neutering and feeding, alone, don't fix it

Hi everyone,

Sorry -- I've been away for a bit, among other things trying to track down the caretaker for a neutered, eartipped cat that entered the pound. It is just as frustrating and sad for me, to know that we can't guarantee that anyone with a trap and a vet, will be responsible about their obligation to cats, as they need to be. Because probably the trapper of this particular cat did not choose to work with a true TNR program, we couldn't locate him or her. Which does mean the cat will be destroyed. Now, it's sad when someone puts out good money for trapping and spaying or neutering (and rescuers often complain about not having enough money); but it is sadder, still, when someone puts in the effort and expense AND then basically forgets about the cat. THIS IS NOT WHAT A PROGRAM SHOULD PROMOTE.

I think I have to agree, that hypothetically, rounding up all of a particular species on a land mass in one concentrated effort, would put an end to nuisances associated with that species. On islands that are isolated and have strict import controls, I guess it probably would be a reasonable approach to try. As we've all said, I think, it would be a hard sell to the public today. It seems to me it would be impossible to coordinate. And while a dog at large is visible and noticed, the first thousand kittens or cats that were abandoned after that "blitz" (because we know that a blitz isn't going to do much to educate the general public), will still breed and I think once the population reaches a certain point, you need to be ready to go in and exterminate again. (I am honestly, trying not to use loaded terms).

If one or two cats, after they've been TNR'd, are STILL causing commotion in a community, THOSE two cats can be removed into a sanctuary situation; or (at worst) you might feel you had to destroy those particular nuisance cats. I really think we're talking about two very different circumstances and blending them into one:

First, the situation where cats are breeding, where there may be occasional removal attempts and occasional trap and release attempts (but no concerted program effort to TNR at least 70 percent)

Second, the situation where there is active Trap, Neuter and Return work under way, or, where the maintenance phase of a TNR program has begun - where caretakers feed and monitor STERILE animals in the colony, and no breeding is occurring

There is such a huge difference between the urine odor of intact cats and that of healthy neutered males or spayed females! I think that urinating on AC units would have to be noticed a lot more in the first situation, than in the second.

You mentioned feral cats biting people. Do you have a lot of calls for this? That's something that only happens when there are way too many cats (again, unmanaged, breeding cats), or when you have a lack of education so people fall back on their wits and think they should go pick that stray cat up and stuff it into a cat carrier to get it to a vet. Wrong! It sounds stuffy but it's very important for people to have a trapping procedure, to follow it carefully. A good TNR program teaches people that trying to pick a strange cat up in your bare hands or trying to grab it with heavy gloves on, is stupid. All that does is get you hurt AND potentially subject that cat to rabies testing (destructive testing). A responsible person doing TNR will only handle a feral cat using a safe trap. (This goes for TNR program vet clinic staff, too - not just any vet tech is a qualified TNR program vet tech).

Disease is much less of a threat if you are managing a population of animals than if you aren't. Vaccinating against rabies when you TNR, means a lot more cats in the field are immunized, than are not immunized. Don't know about you but most people would prefer to be surrounded by a rabies barrier than by a bunch of rabies risks. Again, halting breeding also means a lot fewer cats, so the ratio of humans to cats says fewer chances of even encountering a strange cat. (If you are a parent, and you allow or encourage your toddler to go and pet the strange kitty, and he corners the cat and gets scratched, let's be clear: it's not the cat's fault. And you'd STILL prefer that the cat had been immunized, than not!)

I say that you COULD focus on the tame escapee cats - because there are lots of good, competent, committed volunteers around the country who would gladly run your TNR program for you. I can't tell you how thrilled I would be, if more attention were given to reuniting true tame cats with their owners.

I hear you, Bexleyaco, about the problem of outdoor collectors. They are a problem for both ACOs and TNR programs. I submit, though, that collectors don't happen because of TNR programs. They exploit the lack of collaboration between ACOs and TNR programs. I mean, if you and I were an ACO and a TNR program person, and we worked together, we could agree to put some reasonable requirements on the collector: attend the TNR program workshops and implement an active TNR effort within X weeks. The ACO job is to enforce compliance to ensure the welfare of the cats. The TNR program's job is to provide all of the support possible for the collector to get serious and do better by the cats. As long as TNR and ACOs work in isolation, the collector plays one off against the other.
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