As many of our followers know, we at Cole and Marmalade are huge advocates (advocats?) for TNR, which stands for Trap, Neuter, and Return. Sometimes, it’s expanded to TNVR to indicate the cats are also vaccinated.
Despite ongoing TNR efforts, we see many rescuers saying kitten season in extending longer into the winter months than it used to. Certainly, that’s the case in warmer states like Florida and California. But, we’ve seen people saying it all over the country, too!
Therefore, it’s never been more important to raise awareness of TNR. It’s the humane and most effective way to prevent the need to rescue kittens in the first place. It also helps colony cats live healthier and much more peaceful, quiet lives. In return, TNR raises the quality of life significantly for people in those communities, too! Win–Win!
And of course, the luckiest of the lucky surviving kittens don’t have to return to outdoor life given lots of love and TLC from rescuers. That said, most kittens born outdoors will sadly not make it.
Here are some interesting facts about TNR that you may not know.
TNR Practices Started Over 70 Years Ago!
Although TNR may sound like a new-fangled trend, the practice is well-established. It originated over 70 years ago in Europe, starting in Great Britain in the 50s and then during the 70s in Denmark. From there, the efforts continued, but it wasn’t until the 90s that it became well-established in the United States. Rescue group Alley Cat Allies is credited with helping that happen.
Before that, feral cats were largely euthanized, even though it didn’t work to control colony cat populations. Instead, euthanasia only resulted in out-of-control populations as new cats showed up to take the place of the ones removed; the vacuum effect.
Video by UK rescue Cats Protection about TNR:
Florida Shines On TNR Efforts!
We’re always proud of our fellow Florida rescuers, and it gives us great pride that Jacksonville, Florida, was the first US city to introduce TNR to a shelter setting in 2008. That’s when rescuers from Best Friends teamed up with the nonprofit First Coast No More Homeless Pets and the city.
Cats that go to the Jacksonville shelter get TNVR through the Feral Freedom Program. Ameowzingly, a volunteer started the program, which became a national model.
Likewise, Florida is making groundbreaking advances in TNR in Winter Garden. And a new Florida law is making it easier for retired qualified vets to perform TNR procedures. Go, Florida!
Cities are Strategically Adopting Colony Cats
It may be surprising, but city programs like the one in Chicago encourage the responsible adoption of spayed and neutered colony cats through the “Cats at Work” program. Rather than simply turning a feral cat loose, this is a carefully planned program where people permanently adopt and care for the cats in strategic locations. How are the locations chosen?
One factor is placing the cats where they can drive away pesky rats! However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the cats eat a diet of rodents. Their mere presence and odor drives away disease-carrying vermin like mice and rats. As people realize such benefits, they support the presence of these pretty working cats. Thus, the community support for the program helps place the cats where they are most needed and wanted.
TNR Rescuers Frequently Return Cats to Long-Lost Families
One of our favorite purrks of TNR efforts: Microchip Reunions.” That’s because when colony caretakers find new cats, they are routinely scanned for microchips. If a microchip is found with working contact information, the caretakers experience the pure bliss of reunions between stray cats and their humans, sometimes after many years missing.
Imagine being the person thanked for making such a life-changing reunion possible! What could be better than that? As a welcome bonus, colony cats are often microchipped, too, so they can return to their familiar territory if they get lost or wander too far.
Do You Know the Main Requirement to Practice TNR?
Do you really love cats? That’s the main requirement for practicing TNR. Just about anybody can learn how to do it safely without touching the sometimes ferocious cats. Keep in mind, you will need a way to transport the kitties and keep them in a comfortable environment before releasing them back to where they came from. When it’s not possible to return a cat due to the dangers present, that’s when they make purrfect candidates for programs like Cats at Work.
If you want to try it, local rescuers, veterinarians, and shelters will usually help you find humane traps and other rescuers, resources, and guidance to help you.
Generally, you can get discounts from veterinarians for TNR, but it varies, so be sure to inquire beforehand. We’re happy to see low-cost spay and neuter clinics becoming more common nationwide since nothing has proven more effective at controlling the cat population, and in turn preventing so much suffering. TNR rescuers rock!
Video from Best Friends Animal Society about setting a humane cat trap: