Feral Cats & TNR (Trap Neuter Release)
Feral (unsocialized) cats are the result of human negligence. Owners who do not spay/neuter their pets are contributing to this problem, as are those who abandon their cats or kittens. Many people treat feral cats as throw-aways or ignore them and hope someone else will solve the problem. Even worse, some people purposefully harm ferals because they consider the cats a nuisance. The good news is that many people care enough to help these animals. City Kitties believes they deserve to be treated humanely and respectfully. You can make a difference in the lives of West Philly’s feral cats! There are many online sources of information on feral cats and TNR. Rather than duplicating them, we have compiled some basic information and links. Here’s how to get started:
- Learn about TNR (Trap Neuter Release). TNR is the only proven way to humanely reduce feral cat populations. The basic idea is to trap feral cats in humane traps, spay or neuter them and provide basic veterinary care such as vaccines, re-release them to the same spot following recovery from the surgery, and finally, provide ongoing care to ensure their well-being. If you are looking for instructions on how to prepare, trap, and recover cats, Alley Cat Allies has the most comprehensive and detailed online resource on TNR, including What is TNR?, A Step-by-Step Guide to TNR, and Why TNR Works. Philadelphia Community Cats Council has valuable, Philly-specific information. In the West Philadephia area, Project MEOW specializes in TNR information and support.
- Use a humane trap to capture the cat. Feral cats are wild animals and should be handled with CAUTION. You can purchase them online and at some hardware stores for about $30-50. (Please note that as of 9/1/13, City Kitties is no longer able to lend traps).
- Take the cat to a low-cost clinic for spay/neuter, vaccination, and FIV/FeLV testing. Click here for our list of low-cost veterinary resources. There are lots of places to go!
- Don’t trap the cat and take it to animal control or a shelter. If it’s feral, it will very likely be euthanized immediately.
- Don’t trap the cat and move it somewhere else. The cat may not survive in its new surroundings, and once that cat is gone, another will move in to take over its territory and food source. If you have to move a feral cat, try to find another managed colony where it will be cared for.
- Learn why trap and kill doesn’t work. Killing feral cats is just plain inhumane, not to mention a violation of the state’s animal cruelty laws–and trap and kill doesn’t work to reduce feral populations. If you see anyone doing this, please report it to the PSPCA immediately.
- Tell your neighbors about TNR. Learn how to talk to neighbors about TNR and troubleshoot with community members.
- Learn how to be a responsible feral caretaker. Provide food, clean water, shelter, and keep your feeding station clean and out of sight.
- Learn how to tame feral kittens with this online guide from feralcat.com.