Kittens and puppies, oh my! Part III

Last week we talked about the astronomical number of kittens that can result from just one intact pair of cats. If you missed the earlier articles in our summer series, you can catch up here.

This week we will discuss TNR–trap, neuter, release. This is an international effort, and it means pretty much what it sounds like: we trap a cat, “fix” it, and release it back to the location where it was trapped. With an estimated 50 million feral cats in the United States, it’s clear we need all the help we can get when it comes to TNR.

So, how does all of this work? Well, first let’s talk about where feral cats typically congregate: feral colonies. Wikipedia succinctly defines a colony as

A group of feral cats that live together in one territory, often near food sources and shelter. … When a human decides to care for a feral cat colony, it is often called a managed colony.

Feral colonies are everywhere–office parks, warehouse districts, apartment complexes, suburban neighborhoods, city parks…everywhere. When you find a feral cat, the first thing to do is find out if the cat is already fixed. You can ask around, and hope that someone knows. Or, you can do this: look for a “tipped” ear. A tipped ear is the universal sign that a feral cat has been spayed or neutered. It is done while the cat is under anesthesia and being altered. It’s super easy to spot:

So, once you’ve determined that a feral cat is not fixed, you’ll need to plan to trap for TNR. That’s a lengthy article, however, so we’ll plan to discuss trapping in our next installment.

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