Did you know that before we started Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) or technically Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR), that our shelter was WAY below a live outcome rate of 90 percent for cats? For those that don’t know, a live outcome rate of 90% or higher means a shelter is technically in the no-kill status. Virtually all shelters who want to maintain a 90% plus, no-kill status have a TNR program for feral and stray cats. Since the time that we started our TNR program, we are hovering above 90% for our live outcome rate for cats! Isn’t that amazing?!
What Happened Before TNR?
Before we joined forces with the New Braunfels Community Cat Coalition (NBCCC), virtually any feral cat brought in by animal control was automatically euthanized. Why? They had no place to go and couldn’t be returned unvaccinated and un-neutered. There HAD to be a better way. That’s when NBCCC started back in 2016. Through a generous donation, the Goodwin Center for Community Cats was built, and a lonely shipping container was converted in a holding area on one side and a small clinic on the other. Soon, the word began to spread about TNR and its benefits!
Educating People About the Benefits of TNR
Even today, we have people that just don’t understand ALL of the benefits of TNR/TNVR, but we are here to educate so that those old school notions about feral cats are put to rest. There are several perks to having TNR/TNVRd feral cats around (once they have been through a program like the New Braunfels Community Cat Coalition’s, of course!). It only takes a little bit of time to explain, and most individuals that may have been closed to the idea of TNR/TNVR before are now open to it after being educated on its benefits.
Here is a short overview of its benefits, but this is just a brief summary. For more information on TNR/TNVR, visit nbcats.org.
No Kill Shelter Status
As mentioned above, it helps shelters just like ours hit no kill status. TNR is an integral part for a shelter to work with and save feral cats. Feral cats do NOT prefer to be indoors. They are used to freedoms and the great outdoors, climbing trees, and catching mice. We recommend checking out this Kitten Lady video on why feral cats shouldn’t be forced to be a typical house cat. Feral is a temperament, not a type of cat.
No More Kittens!
Our favorite pro of TNR is NO MORE KITTENS! Yes, we love kittens and how cute and cuddly that they can be, but our world is just full of too many. Honestly, the cute, cuddly photos that you do see of kittens is maybe 5-10% of those that enter the shelter. Most are born in unsafe environments where they contract horrible viruses and parasites, which leads to slow, horrible deaths. Not to be too descriptive, but it’s the truth. Also, for every house cat that isn’t fixed and has kittens, that is just perpetuating and displacing the amount of homes that stray kittens could have taken a place in. Spay and neuter your pets!
Diminished Marking Tendencies
One of the biggest complaints that we receive from people about feral and community cats is marking. We understand that all of hormones racing through those big ole, fat cheeked tom kitties cause the need to mark territory. This is even prevalent for some females as well! While spaying and neutering doesn’t completely guarantee marking tendencies to stop, it will help diminish them tremendously. Thus, the complaint about continual marking is not something that most people will need to worry about as much.
Less Roaming and Fighting Tendencies
With the drop in testosterone and estrogen through a neuter, the desire to cross roads to look for a mate or fight off other cats becomes almost non-existent. Not only is this safer for the cats (think less wounds, abscesses, and chances of being hit by a car), but it also is better for humans and their house pets. Neutered feral cats get along much better with other, neutered house cats that roam outdoors.
All Natural Rodent Control
Like really, is there a better reason to have TNRd working cats around?! Even some of the nicest restaurants here in New Braunfels have their very own working cat colonies outside. Why? Because a maintained colony keeps pests and rodents down without the chances of kids or other pets getting into nasty poisons or traps. This means rats and mice are less likely to get into a fancy restaurant kitchen. Also, with a lack of rodents comes a lack of snakes (since rodents are a primary food source). This means less rodents running around a restaurant, barn, brewery, or home. Having working cats around chickens will help keep snakes away as well because their food source is minimal. Interested in all natural rodent control? We have a solution for that! Visit nbcats.org/working-cats to learn more!
If you haven’t heard of the vacuum effect, it occurs when you remove cats from one area and then new cats move in. Most of the time, you are finding community and feral cat colonies around areas that are a prime location for food, water, and shelter. Moving feral cats out of an area via euthanization (or just removal) definitely does not guarantee forever cat removal. It actually almost guarantees new cats will move in to take their places. Wouldn’t you rather have a maintained colony of neutered and vaccinated cats to “claim the location”? New cats may move in, which can be TNRd in stride. However, it is much less likely to occur with a maintained colony of TNRd cats that know each other. Removal, in and of itself, really isn’t a great or humane solution.
It Saves Lives!
While many may argue that euthanasia is more humane, we disagree. Just sit and watch a community cat colony for long enough and you’ll see typical play that you would see in a house cat, except these cats don’t belong in a house (see above). We believe that TNR is the most humane solution, and these cats are just living their best lives and want to be left in peace. We can help make this time more peaceful through neuters and vaccinations to minimize disease spread.