During this pause in TNR to keep us all safe in the era of COVID-19, take some time to strategize in areas where people ask for help. While we’re out there answering calls for help and trapping, transporting, vetting and fostering or returning cats, we usually don’t have the time to take a step back and look at a situation in an entire neighborhood rather than just the cats we’re called about. When you answer the call, also walk the neighborhood, talk to neighbors, and try to find if there’s a source of abandoned cats, or indoor-outdoor cats who continue to reproduce. Do your best to assess the whole situation and if possible include people in the solutions—give people information about the reasons for spaying and neutering, and information about the nearest low-cost services, even offer to transport if that’s what it takes. It’s all about reducing the whole population and empowering people with information.
This week in 2015 I responded to a request to help find a friendly outdoor mom cat and the four-week-old kittens she had moved. Following Charm, finding her kittens, and helping sort out the entire situation of three abandoned unspayed female cats and their kittens and other cats in the neighborhood became a case study of multiple situations in one TNR project in one neighborhood that I’ve used to explain TNR to individuals and officials. Working holistically in a neighborhood is one of the ways to make TNR successful in not only stabilizing an outdoor cat population but reducing it as proved in several studies and in practice, by removing all kittens and friendly cats and also enlisting the help and support of the cat caretakers and neighbors already in place.
The next weeks and months involved meeting neighbors as we searched for kittens and ultimately any other cat in need in the neighborhood, fostering and vetting kittens for adoption, safely surrendering friendly adult cats to shelters, providing TNR to feral cats and giving low-cost spay/neuter information to neighbors and helping them with behavior problems that caused them to abandon or keep their cats outdoors, and assessing what else we could do for cats, resolving each one with the best outcome of each cat in mind.
I summarized it in an article published on Pet Radio Magazine, “TNR with a Side of Adoption and Outreach”. It was one of two articles I wrote about TNR and working with stray and feral cats, the second being The Kitten Game.
“But the goal of TNR for all concerned is not just to sterilize cats so they can’t reproduce. For both cat lovers and those who find them to be filthy pests another important goal is to reduce the population of free-roaming cats. We cat lovers want them safe in loving homes that understand their temperament, opponents just want them gone.”
The editor prefers articles with personal experience, so in this article I used the TNR/rescue/foster experience from 2015 involving Charm and her kittens and the nine other cats involved in that area. I linked some very interesting studies as well.
“In all seven adult cats were spayed or neutered, the three abandoned females and three owned males and one feral, and eight kittens were rescued and fostered. With fostering through our rescue and working with shelters, 10 cats out of 15 were not returned, and two owned males were not returned to roaming, leaving two cats of 15 out on the streets. Being able to foster and adopt is essential to reducing the populations of a colony with TNR.”
Please visit Pet Radio Magazine and read the article, and please share too. I love rescuing cats, but I also love sharing encouragement and techniques that others can realistically use to rescue cats in their turn and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets, the only way we will ever stop the overpopulation and killing.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
This award-winning art was inspired by working in post op at the May 25, 2014 Homeless Cat Management Team TNR clinic. I’ll make a $5.00 donation to HCMT for each poster sold to help spay and neuter more cats so there won’t be so many to rescue. Quantity discounts are available if you want a stack for a clinic or event. Read more about this artwork and purchase a print of this sketch.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!