What is TNR?
We catch the feral cat, bring her to our veterinarian (RGV Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic) and have her spayed, or neutered in case of a male cat. Most cats on the STC campus are not socialized with humans. There is only a small window during a kitten’s developmental stage where the foundation can be build for a successful human-kitty relationship. Otherwise, it will be tough. Or impossible. Which makes them un-adoptable.
Therefore, the spayed/neutered cat will be returned to the original colony, where it will contribute to a healthy population size and atmosphere.
Why would you wanna do this? Making babies is natural!
- Feral cats have an average of 1.4 litters per year, with an average of 3.5 live births.
- Kitten mortality at three months is already 48%. At six months it is 67%.
- Two-thirds die prior to reproduction.
- There are estimates of up to 60 million feral cats nationwide.
From the RGV Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic:
“Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in the Rio Grande Valley. More than 40,000 dogs and cats enter the local animal center every year and more than 27,000 will never leave alive. There are only two ways to control pet overpopulation: euthanasia or sterilization. Sterilization (spay or neuter surgery) is the only humane solution.”
“The answer is not to build more shelters. The answer is to stop the cycle of reproduction that leads to overpopulation.”
Are feral cats a danger to my community?
- Most diseases that infect cats can only be spread from cat to cat, not from cat to human. You are much more likely to catch an infectious disease from the person standing in line with you at the grocery store than from a cat. (American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Feline Health Center, Cornell University, College of Veterinary
Medicine. Zoonotic Disease: What Can I Catch From My Cat? 2002.)
- In fact, a 2002 review of cat-associated diseases published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that, “cats should not be thought of as vectors for disease transmission.”
- The last confirmed cat-to-human transmission of rabies occurred in 1975 and the risk of catching rabies from a feral cat is almost non-existent. Statistics from the CDC show that as a source of rabies infections, cats rank way behind wild animals like bats, skunks, and foxes who account for more than
90% of reported cases of the disease. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies – Epidemiology. September 18, 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/)
- Most Cases of Toxoplasmosis stem from undercooked food, not cats.(Centers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Toxoplasmosis. January 11, 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/toxoplasmosis/
(accessed October 25, 2010).)
- Cat Colony Caregivers are as healthy as everyone else.
Why do I need to spay or neuter my pet?
From the HumaneSociety:
Pets are homeless everywhere
“In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the rest are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets who would have made great companions.
The number of homeless animals varies by state—in some states there are as many as 300,000 homeless animals euthanized in animal shelters every year. These are not the offspring of homeless “street” animals—these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds.
Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.”
Your pet’s health
A USA Today (May 7, 2013) article cites that pets who live in the states with the highest rates of spaying/neutering also live the longest. According to the report, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. The report goes on to add that in Mississippi, the lowest-ranking state for pet longevity, 44% of the dogs are not neutered or spayed.
Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars, and other mishaps.
Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system.
Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)
Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.
Curbing bad behavior
Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.
For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighting with other males.
In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.
Other behavioral problems that can be ameliorated by spay/neuter include:
Roaming, especially when females are “in heat.”
Aggression: Studies also show that most dogs bites involve dogs who are unaltered.
Excessive barking, mounting, and other dominance-related behaviors.
While getting your pets spayed/neutered can help curb undesirable behaviors, it will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.
Form the FeralCatProject:
“When a feral cat gets trapped and neutered, the veterinarian also will lightly clip her ear as an easy identifying marker. This process is sometimes referred to as an “ear crop.” According to the animal rights organization PETA, approximately one quarter of an inch is always taken off the upper portion of a kitty’s left ear. Doing this notifies other concerned members of the community that the cat has been altered and vaccinated. If you’re interested in spaying a feral cat, all you have to do is look at her ear to make sure the surgery is still necessary. Ear clipping prevents you from bringing cats in that have already been fixed.”
Animal Control wont pick up an ear-clipped cat!
Myths and Facts About Spaying and Neutering
MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.
FACT: Every litter counts.
Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.
MYTH: I want my children to experience the miracle of birth.
FACT: The miracle of birth is quickly overshadowed by the thousands of animals euthanized in animal shelters in communities all across the country. Teach children that all life is precious by spaying and neutering your pets.
MYTH: But my pet is a purebred.
FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats—mixed breed and purebred. About half of all animals entering shelters are euthanized.
MYTH: I want my dog to be protective.
FACT: It is a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.
MYTH: I don’t want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.
FACT: Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality. He doesn’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
MYTH: My pet will get fat and lazy.
FACT: The truth is that most pets get fat and lazy because their owners feed them too much and don’t give them enough exercise.
MYTH: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.
FACT: Your pet’s puppies or kittens have an unlikely chance of being a carbon copy of your pet. Even professional breeders cannot make this guarantee. There are shelter pets waiting for homes who are just as cute, smart, sweet, and loving as your own.
MYTH: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
FACT: Many low-cost options exist for spay/neuter services. Most regions of the U.S. have at least one spay/neuter clinic within driving distance that charge $100 or less for the procedure, and many veterinary clinics provide discounts through subsidized voucher programs. Low-cost spay/neuter is more and more widely available all the time. Start with this low-cost spay/neuter finder.
MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.
FACT: You may find homes for your pet’s puppies and kittens. But you can only control what decisions you make with your own pet, not the decisions other people make with theirs. Your pet’s puppies and kittens, or their puppies or kittens, could end up in an animal shelter, as one of the many homeless pets in every community competing for a home. Will they be one of the lucky ones?