What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) that SCOOP advocates?
SCOOP advocates the proven technique of TNR for humanely reducing the stray and feral cat population. TNR is a program that allows outdoor stray and feral cats to continue to live outdoors after being humanely trapped, sterilized, and vaccinated. These cats then have lifelong caretakers who provide food, water, and shelter. Often, stray cats and kittens, or young feral kittens, are tamed and adopted. Research shows that TNR helps reduce the number of feral and stray cats in communities. The technique was brought to the United States from Europe in the late 1980s. It works by breaking the cycle of reproduction.
Eighty one percent of Americans believe that leaving a stray or feral cat outside to live out its life is more humane than having the cat caught and killed. Even when asked to assume that a stray or feral cat will die by being hit by a car, 72% of Americans believe it's still more humane to let the cat live in its outdoor home. Euthanasia at animal shelters is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States. It costs more taxpayer dollars (three times as much) for the cat to be trapped, held, killed, and disposed of at the county shelter than it does to humanely trap, sterilize, vaccinate, and release the cat back to its outdoor home where it's provided food and water by caretakers. The breeding stops, nuisance behaviors of unspayed and unneutered cats stop, and disease and malnutrition are greatly reduced.
What is a feral cat?
Feral cats are unsocialized to humans. Stray cats have been abandoned or lost, and they can become feral over time. Typically, stray cats can be re-socialized and adopted.
Where do feral cats live?
Feral cats live in yards, parks, barns, college campuses, deserted buildings, near restaurants, in apartment or condo developments, etc. Where there are food sources and shelter, there are cats.
How many stray and feral cats are there?
In the United States, it's estimated that there are between 60 to 100 million stray and feral cats.
Won't these wild cats carry rabies?
Rabies is overwhelmingly a disease of wildlife such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. Cats are not a primary vector of rabies. From 1990 to 2006, only 38 people died from rabies in this country, and not one was contracted from a cat.
What about wildlife, such as birds, that cats kill?
Cats are not the cause of wildlife depletion--humans are. Studies show that the overwhelming cause of wildlife depletion is destruction of natural habitat due to manmade structures, chemical pollutions, pesticides, and drought.
Does trap and remove work as well as TNR?
"Trap and kill" does not work. Where there are food sources, feral and stray cats establish territories. If you get rid of the cats in that area, then more cats quickly move into the area and this is called the "vacuum effect." These unsterilized cats will breed. Colonies of cats will remain relatively stable and when all of the cats are fixed in those colonies, that means no more kittens.
Who does TNR?
People from all walks of life are assisting with this compassionate solution--doctors, teachers, lawyers, business owners, police officers, construction workers, etc.
What about the diseases being spread by these outdoor cats?
House cats and feral cats contract feline AIDS and leukemia at the same rate--about 4%. Stray and feral cats cannot spread these diseases to people, or to other animals.
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