TNR: Trap – Neuter – Return. It’s a simple, straightforward concept that works to control the population of outdoor “Community Cats/Feral Cats.” Cats who, through no fault of their own, are living their lives on the streets, in cities, towns, and fields. These cats have been lost from their homes, or often just “dumped” by irresponsible and unfeeling owners. While some of these cats are friendly, having been socialized as kittens, many are unsocialized and are timid and afraid of people.

These cats often form colonies of several cats living together, and of course the result of unsterilized animals is more animals. A female cat can have up to 6 litters a year. In 8 years, the progeny of one unspayed female cat can create an astonishing 2,072,514 cats.

Many well-meaning people feel sorry for these blameless animals and feed them. Unfortunately, only feeding them just compounds the problem. “If you feed them, you have to FIX them!” is my mantra! Anyone who takes it upon themselves to care for these animals needs to be committed to caring for ALL the cats they are feeding and have every animal spayed/neutered. That way, the colony will live out its natural life without fighting, yowling, territorial disputes, and other unwanted behaviors.

There are many websites that can provide exceptional information on how and why to trap cats, have them spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and returned to their area. One of my favorites is Alley Cat Allies at www.alleycat.org. I encourage you to become educated on this universal problem and spread the word that TNR is the way to help save these cats lives.

HSCC is committed to help control the population of these unsocialized cats and has a “Feral Cat Package” available for purchase. For $40, the cat is spayed/neutered, given a rabies vaccine, and an eartip which removes the top 1/3-inch of the cat’s right ear, signifying that the animal is an outdoor cat who cannot reproduce. We also rent traps with a refundable $10 deposit. Please note that appointments are required, so please go on our website, www.catawbahumane.org or call 828.464.8878 for more information on our feral cat packages.

These cats may not say thank you, but you can thank yourself for saving countless lives!