TNR cats live longer, benefit humans

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

To the editor:

Trap-neuter-return is the only humane way to control cat populations and protect cat colonies. TNR involves trapping outdoor cats to provide them with veterinary care such as spaying/neutering and vaccinations and returning them to the area they were found.

This method allows the cats to live out their lives, rather than be killed upon impoundment, which happens under eradication methods.

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Using TNR for community cats helps protect the community from rabies. Plans to simply kill cats rarely get rid of all cats in a community. Therefore, there are cats still living in the community that have no veterinary care or vaccines.

In TNR’d colonies, cats are given the rabies vaccine at the time of surgery, and studies show that community cats have excellent immune responses and can stay protected for more than four years after the first vaccination. Further, cats form a rabies barrier between wildlife and humans.

Community cats brought in to TNR clinics are largely healthy; veterinarians involved in TNR find less than 10 percent of the cats have a medical condition upon intake. Alley Cat Rescue’s 2016 feral cat survey found that 42 percent of colonies had cats that were 9-12 years old and 29 percent had cats who were 6-8 years old.

Community cats are often looked after and cared for by community members, so if an issue arises the caretaker can assist the cat.

Unlike eradication programs, which are funded through tax dollars, most TNR programs operate using private money and use volunteers to carry out the workload. A study commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society and funded by PetSmart Charities found that TNR programs for community cats can cut costs in half.

TNR is not only the most humane method, but also the most practical method for managing cat populations.

Brianna Grant

Brentwood, Md.