You are dealing with a colony of stray cats "terrorising" your neighbourhood. They are spraying, fighting, stealing food and being a general nuisance, so why would you let a rescue organisation desex them and release them back?!
If this sounds a bit like how you are feeling at the moment, please read on.
Relocation takes too long
For us to take an unsocialised cat into care we have to have a long term plan in place in case the cat cannot be tamed. When TNR is rejected by someone asking for assistance we must find an alternative territory for the cats, typically a "barn placement". Barn placements are incredibly difficult to find, which is why so few cats can be relocated. In the meantime, TNR reduces nuisance behaviour
So, why not just put them in a foster home?
Foster homes for unsocialised cats are few and far between. We have only three foster homes that can take these types of cats, and each can typically only work with one cat at a time given the workload and time involved in socialising an unsocialised adult. Assuming a cat is able to be worked with (not all of them are), it takes a minimum of 4 - 6 months to get them to an adoptable point and often a lot longer to find them a home. Some cats are not suitable for confinement and it becomes a welfare issue keeping them in foster care with nowhere to go. One thing to remember, Outpawed is not a shelter, nor a central location with unlimited amenities for cats. Our foster homes are our volunteers' own homes.
Wouldn't it be more humane to trap and kill?
We do not believe killing to be a humane or effective option. Many studies have shown TNR to be more effective in the long run.
Removal of cats has negative consequences
Vacuum effect: with the territory destabilised you will likely have new strays entering the territory. These strays will be entire. They will challenge any resident cats, including your pets, to establish a hierarchy. There will be:
Increased noise from mating and fighting
TNR lowers the number of cats
Spayed/neutered cats cannot reproduce and attrition means that the overall number will decrease over time (average 36% over two years). In addition, during the TNR process the rescue will identify any rehomeable cats and remove them, along with any kittens.
We encourage the community to strongly consider TNR in the meantime until a relocation opportunity presents itself and we are more than happy to assist with this. Doing nothing could result in the colony increasing in size (average 47% over two years).
TNR reduces nuisance behaviour
Noise is reduced as there is no mating
Fighting is reduced
Spraying from unneutered male cats is reduced /prevented
Wildlife predation is reduced as there are fewer cats
A TNR colony is healthier
A colony that consists only of desexed adult cats is generally in good health. There are no kittens, which are the most vulnerable members of a colony as they are prone to infection. There is no energy going into reproduction, so the adults will be in better health. Very occasionally an adult cat will get sick or injured, but this can be reported to a rescue and dealt with at the time. Most rescues who perform TNR will provide ongoing medical support.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions or would like to discuss any barriers to TNR, please get in touch.
If you would like to become a volunteer trapper or foster parent we would love to hear from you.