Hey guys. Wally here. Tomorrow, October 16, is Global Cat Day, a day that was started back in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies as a way to educate people about feral cats…or what are now called community or outdoor cats…and promote programs like Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR). It’s also a day to honor and recognize the millions of people who care for community cats. Alley Cat Allies is the only advocacy organization that is dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of community cats.
TNR is a proven method to help save cats lives. But despite all the efforts of promoting and educating about TNR, there are still lots of myths that exist about it. We, along with the Garden Center cats, Chip and Slim, our favorite community cats…wanna bust those myths.
For those of you not familiar with Chip and Slim, they’re a couple of cats that showed up at the dad-guy’s garden center a few years ago. The mom and dad-guy trapped them, got them fixed, and they’ve been living the good life at the garden center ever since.
Myth #1 – Community cats are still a nuisance even after TNR.
FACT – Fixing cats fixes bad behavior. Fixed cats are less likely to go into heat, spray or fight.
FACT – Fixed cats roam less. Spaying and neutering helps to reduce a cat’s desire to roam.
Myth #2 – TNR puts unhealthy and suffering animals back on the street.
FACT – The majority of community cats are healthy and disease-free. Studies have found that most cats that have been TNR’ed are healthy enough to be fixed. And TNR actually helps to keep community cats healthy. Spaying a female cat reduces the risk of tumors and infections, and neutering males helps to deter fighting thus preventing bite wounds.
Myth #3 – Eartipping is cruel.
FACT – Cats that are TNR’ed have their ear tipped to indicate that they have been TNR’ed. Eartipping is painless and it helps to prevent unnecessary surgeries.
Myth #4 – TNR will never stop cats from killing wildlife, like birds.
FACT – Cats are natural-born hunters, but the best way to protect wildlife is to have fewer community cats in the environment. If cats are fixed and no longer can reproduce, the overall population of community cats will decline over time. Some conservationists blame cats for millions of bird deaths every year. Most of these claims are extremely exaggerated. When cats are fixed and their numbers gradually decline, both the cats and the birds win. And community cats help to keep the rodent population in check.
Chip and Slim are doing well. They may not have all the comforts of an inside cat…but they get good food regularly, have a nice sheltered area, and people who care about them. Chip and Slim are examples of how TNR can work for outdoor cats.
Despite these myths and misconceptions, TNR does save cats’ lives. It’s a proven method of stabilizing and reducing populations of community cats. More and more cities and towns are recognizing that TNR really does work. But more needs to be done until TNR is the only acceptable way to care for community cats.
Photo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies
Do you take care of any community cats?