Feral cat & Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) Resources
* Before you begin a TNR effort, first learn about TNR & how prepare, trap, alter, recover, and release a feral cat or cats. Also, learn to identify feral cats, established colonies, and what you can do to help. Check out Alley Cat Allies for detailed information & the FAQ's below, before contacting The Philly Kitty for assistance or placement.
Frequently Asked Questions about TNR & Feral Cats, courtesy of Alley Cat Allies
What is a feral cat? A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with people or her contact with people has diminished over time. She is not socialized to people and survives on her own outdoors. Most feral cats are not likely to ever become lap cats or enjoy living indoors.
What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)? Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane, effective approach for feral cats. Feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap-Neuter-Return improves their lives and their relations with the community: the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop.
Why doesn't removing feral cats from an area work? Animal control’s traditional approach for feral cats—catching and killing—is endless and cruel, and it does not keep an area free of cats. Cats choose to reside in a location for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. Because of a phenomenon called the vacuum effect, when cats are removed from a location, survivors of the catch and kill effort and new cats who have moved in breed to capacity. Cats have been living outside alongside people for 10,000 years—a fact that cannot be changed.
I need to relocate a cat/colony. Should I do this? How do I do this?Relocating feral cats is not the “happy ending” many people may think it is. The truth is, it’s a complicated, risky, and time-consuming plan that rips frightened cats from their home—with no guarantee they will stay in the new location. In high-tension situations, calls to “just move the cats” are extremely common. It can be tempting to offer the opposition an option they will easily accept, like relocation. But remember that you are always working towards a solution that is in the best interest of the cats—and relocation is not. Because of the negative impacts on the cats, relocation should be your last option,something to be considered only after you have exhausted all other possibilities and you truly believe that the cats’ lives are in imminent danger if they remain where they are.