Community Cats TNR, a local, non-profit group of volunteers, in partnership with Country Veterinary Clinic, P.C. and Animal Hospital of Ludington, has trapped, neutered and returned 1,100 Community Cats as of Oct. 14.
Cat number 1,100 is a large male tabby. He was neutered by Dr. Crystal McConnell of Country Veterinary Clinic.
During the past eight years, volunteers for the Community Cats TNR program have been working with caregivers to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) homeless cats, primarily in urban locations, throughout Mason County. Trap-Neuter-Return, commonly referred to as “TNR,” is the only method proven to be humane and effective at controlling feral cat population growth.
Caregivers who regularly provide food, water and shelter for homeless cats care about the humane treatment of homeless animals and make it possible for Community Cats TNR to help control the population growth in and around the neighborhood.
Community Cats TNR volunteers trap and transport the cats to a veterinary clinic where they are given a health check, rabies and distemper vaccines, parasite treatment, are spayed or neutered and administered pain medication. The left ear of each cat is tipped for identification purposes. After surgery, volunteers care for the cats in a quiet, temperature controlled environment for one to four days before returning them to their colony and caregiver for continued monitoring.
Set traps are watched at all times to assure that trapped cats are not injured or subjected to heat, cold or rain. As soon as the trap is triggered, it is immediately covered with a sheet or blanket to calm the cat and reduce stress. The trapped cat is then removed to a quiet location to await surgery. Set traps are never left unattended, especially overnight and cats are not trapped during winter months to avoid stress of cold temperatures and surgery at the same time.
The organization focuses on homeless cats that need to be trapped for safe handling and transport to the veterinary clinic. People who are caring for friendly strays are encouraged to arrange for surgery with their own veterinarian and to contact www.fixingfurryfriends.org to secure a spay/neuter certificate to pay for a portion of the cost. Community Cats TNR does not assist with surgery costs for pet cats and is not equipped to handle rescue situations.
Based upon the most conservative calculation of the birth and survival rate of only one litter per year per female, it is estimated that the Community Cats TNR program has prevented the birth of at least 245,000 unwanted kittens so far. Further, Trap-Neuter-Return has an immediate effect by reducing the neighborhood birth rate and potentially reducing the annual intake by Mason County Animal Control.
Volunteers have suspended trap/neuter/return activities until spring so that cats are not stressed by cold, surgery and recovery at the same time. Caregivers are urged to provide shelter, food and fresh water throughout the winter months. Information on caring for homeless cats and outdoor winter cat shelters can be found on www.communitycatstnr.org; www.alleycat.org; and www.neighborhoodcats.org.
Community Cats TNR relies on support from the community in the form of direct and memorial donations and fundraisers. This year has been a challenging one for all of the local animal advocate groups due to inability to hold regular fundraisers.
Donations of cat food may be made at the drop off bin in the lobby of Shop N Save. Canisters for monetary donations are available at a number of local businesses, and donations may be made to Community Cats TNR and sent to P.O. Box 384, Ludington, MI 49431. Donations of cat food in the box at Shop N Save are needed more than ever right now.
For more information, call 845-7888 or 843-9312.