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response to Heather & Scott

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  • Heidi M. Shields
    Hi Heather & Scott, Thanks for responding to my post. I will do my best to answer your concerns in regard to TNR but I DO encourage you to contact Alley Cat
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2005
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      Hi Heather & Scott,

      Thanks for responding to my post. I will do my best to answer your concerns
      in regard to TNR but I DO encourage you to contact Alley Cat Allies.

      > 1. After a cat is sterilized and tested, what type of follow up health
      > care is done? This is a must, in my opinion, for the cats in
      > question -even more so than any cat that is "owned." It sounds as if
      > little to no care is provided.

      In the program that we are working with here in Columbia County, we don't
      test for Feline Leukemia or FIV. Statistically, those two diseases are no
      more prevalent in feral cats than they are in cats with homes. Please refer
      to this information fact sheet from Alley Cat Allies:
      http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/test.pdf Contrary to the somewhat popular
      belief, feral cats are not generally sickly animals and are not out
      spreading FeLV and FIV at will. According the statistics, up to 80% of
      adult cats afflicted with FeLV survive to develop an immunity to the virus.
      Neither virus is transmissible to humans or to dogs. FIV is transmitted
      primarily through bite wounds. Altered cats are less likely to fight
      therefore reducing the number of bite wounds and, consequantly, the
      potential spread of the virus.

      In regard to cats who are injured or ill: they would need to be re-trapped
      and cared for by a veterinarian. We are talking about a managed colony
      which is a colony that is monitored and cared for. The cats will need to be
      fed by volunteers and watched for illnesses and injuries. Volunteers will
      have to monitor the colony for newborns to make sure they are removed, once
      weaned, and put up for adoption.

      > 2. What is being done to educate the public with respect to properly
      > giving up an animal? People continue to abandon domestic animals
      > everyday. There needs to be an increased emphasis on education or this
      > will not ever end. I see it everyday, as others that work in shelters or
      > animal groups do, stray animals that people have abandoned. The reasons
      > why vary, but this is a fact! And, TNR alone, will not lessen this. In
      > addition, what is this group doing to educate people about the
      > responsibilities of owning an animal? I strongly believe that if people
      > have information, they can make a more educated decision. .

      I think you answered your own question. Education IS the key. And as a
      person who works with a shelter, I can certainly understand your
      frustration. You are absolutely right, we need to get the word out and
      educate people that owning an animal is a privilege not a right and that it
      brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility. I am open to
      suggestions and would be happy to brainstorm ideas with you. We struggle
      with the same questions you do. TNR alone will not lessen the abandonment
      rate. But it WILL lessen the feral cat population. Euthaniasia just
      doesn't work. Trap and kill is a temporary answer to a permanent problem.
      Trap-Neuter-Return is a permanent answer to a temporary problem.

      > 3. If food sources and shelters are removed, this does stop cats from
      > moving in to take advantage of the same resources.

      Can you do it without starving and/or freezing the ones who are already
      there? You can't eliminate human kindness. SOMEONE will feed the cats and
      give them shelter. You have to deal with the population that is there in a
      humane manner and educate the public about what you are doing.

      > 4. How do you suggest handling the complaints of community members with
      > respect to feral cats being a nuisance?

      Education is the only answer. They need to SEE that you are doing something
      and understand that it is a TNR program and how it works. Explain the
      vacuum effect to them. We recently began TNR on a colony in our county.
      One man had an issue with the cats sneaking into his garage. Once I spoke
      with him and he understood what our intentions were and it made sense to
      him, he agreed to allow us to manage the colony. He was happy to see a
      means to an end and thanked me for educating him on the issue.

      > another question would be, after a 2-3 year death toll of a cat "colony"
      > woulnt more cats take their place in this predator vacume?

      No. As the colony becomes smaller, the food sources (volunteer feeders) are
      lessened, making the area less attractive to ferals. Those who do move in
      can be trapped, altered, and moved to another colony that is in the earlier
      stages of TNR. Also, the majority of the colony's population isn't new cats
      moving in, it's litters upon litter of kittens born to un-spayed colony
      members. TNR eliminates that completely.

      Thanks for your time,
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