Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Final Chapter: TNR Tuesday

This is the final cross-post in a series on a feral cat situation near Canton, Ohio.

Our guest blogger is BZ TAT, an artist and former counselor/therapist. She's the founder of Okey's Promise, an outreach through public art designed to create awareness about the connections between animal maltreatment, child abuse and domestic violence.

The original posts can be found at the Okey's Promise blog.


Feral Cat Rescue: The Big Job is complete.

I have written about a colony of feral cats in Tuscarawas County, OH who helped me learn about the Trap-Neuter-Return process. I even drew their pictures, as they were very inspiring to me. You can see a slideshow below of the drawings.

The cats taught me A LOT. I am very grateful to them. I am sure that they are grateful that I am done, and pretty much out of their lives at this point! They all scatter when I come to visit my friend, their caregiver, which is fine by me.

In all, I trapped 13 cats and 5 kittens. There were two who simply would not be trapped (that I know of). My friend, who recently had heart surgery, will endeavor to trap them when she feels better.

The timing for the trapping turned out to be more urgent than anticipated. Because of our unusually warm weather in both February and March this year, females are going into heat early. We had 7 adult females, some of which had already gone into heat. Do the math. We were able to prevent the colony from growing significantly larger.

The overall clinic costs between One is One of a Kind Pets in Fairlawn, OH who did the spay/neutering, and the Tuscarawas County Humane Society cat shelter, who accepted the kittens, was $305.00. This was due to the very generous offering of One of a Kind Pets Spay Neuter Clinic to do the surgeries at a very low $20 per cat. (THANK YOU OOKP!!!)

There were some additional food and supply costs, and transportation costs as well. There was not a feral cat clinic in the area (other than a mobile unit that was not accessible at the times needed), so the cats had to be transported 60 miles each trip. Add to that a 60 mile round trip from my home to the trapping site, and I covered a 994 miles for the intervention.

We had $315 donated to aid in the intervention, and additional monies were contributed by the cats’ caregiver that offset these costs. I am deeply appreciative to those who contributed. The money helped to cover clinic costs, feeding costs, and transportation costs.

One of a Kind Pets Iams food donation
       Presenting food vouchers to
    One of a Kind Spay Neuter Clinic

I am grateful to One is One of a Kind Pets and the Tuscarawas County Humane Society cat shelter for their help with the process, and to Iams Pet Foods, who donated 60 lbs of pet food to both organizations in thanks.

I am also very grateful to Peace For Pets, who loaned me the traps and educated me about the actual TNR procedures.

I have read that you can consider it a successful TNR intervention if you are able to neuter 70% of a colony. We managed to neuter 90%, so I feel that, as a team, we did pretty well!

Doing the intervention was an adventure. I feel that I need to stress, however, that there are many people in my community and across the country who do TNR every day in much more complicated situations than this was. I was in a rural area with a garage enclosure where the cats and I were safe. Often, trappers go into urban areas where the circumstances are much less luxurious.
They are true heroes in my book.

I do not know if I will do further trappings. I will assist others when needed, and I am doing some community education about TNR. I am participating in the Canton, OH citywide effort to make TNR the official means of feral cat management for the city. We’ll see where it leads me.

Thanks for following the adventure!

Life is an Adventure!


  1. Good job. I think 90% neutered is an outstanding quantity. Maybe some day the feral population will be down to 0 because of dedicated people like you.

    1. Wouldn't that be pawesome! We give BZ TAT two paws WAAAY up!

  2. Anyone who does TNR is a hero in their community. We're lucky to have them around here also.

    1. Yes! We wish they would let more TNR people be heroes in places like the Loews hotels (we very upset about them trapping that colony!!).

  3. Great job! What you did IS heroic. You have made a difference in the lives of those cats, and for the comunity in which they live. We are proud to be your friends. :)


  4. Awesome work, BZTAT! My human and I are proud of you.

  5. You are just so cool!!! Believe it or not I'm going to be assisting in my very first trapping of a street cat tonight. He will then be neutered and returned - I'm so excited!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I'm not the writer of this blog but I do feel compelled to speak.

      First, if you feel so strongly, please stand behind your comment, rather than post anonymously. We should all take responsibility for our opinions and be ready to discuss them to work toward a solution to a divisive problem.

      I see no alternate solutions offered in this comment. What solution do you recommend? Are you advocating euthanasia? Or perhaps you are housing feral cats in a safe environment instead? If so, how are you financing, staffing and managing this endeavor? I'm sure there are many people who would like practical alternatives and be willing to try them.

      In my opinion there is no easy solution to the tremendous problem of companion animal overpopulation. Yes, the TNR'd ferals are still at risk. It seems to me, however, that caring folk are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

      Feral cats can be difficult to socialize and care for in an enclosed environment - I know, I'm currently housing two. TNR seems to me a practical and caring alternative to euthanasia.

    2. We have been informed who this anonymous poster is and because of that person's identity and known harassment of animal lover blogs, we have chosen to delete it. We regret we didn't catch it soon enough to prevent everyone from having to be exposed to it!

    3. No worries, hon! I felt badly they'd posted it on your blog and the mama cat in me came out to defend! I felt a responsibility to reply to the comment because it was anonymous and and did not seem to be offered in a constructive light.

      Hugs'n'headbutts to you and to BZ TAT from the Casa!

  7. Wow. Anonymous, I am also not the writer of this blog, nor do I know the owner of this blog, but I'm with Hubble*. If you're going to flame someone's blog, be decent enough to do it under your own name, you coward.

    To the owner of this blog, well done! Love the physics and TNG kitty names!!

  8. Dear Anonymous, we appreciate that you had the courage of your convictions that allowed you to post your opinion. We sincerely hope that some day you feel brave enough - and confident enough in your own opinions - to share your name with us as well.

    Since we do not know who you are, we have to do a lot of guessing as to why you feel the way you do.

    Our first impression is that you have never served in the role of volunteer cat socializer for a shelter or rescue organization for any length of time. Those of us who have can tell you this: though it is our dearest hope that all cats find a loving forever home with a family that will properly care for them and keep them safe indoors, that is sadly not the case.

    And it's not only the human element that is at issue here. Those of us who volunteer can tell you many anecdotal stories about cats who absolutely defy every attempt to socialize them. And we go to extraordinary measures, as a no-kill shelter, to save these animals! Months and months - in some cases years - of patience can sometimes not overcome a cat who refuses to acclimate to an in-home environment.

    In many cases, shelters have begun implementing a barn cat program. Would you consider this to fall under the auspices of your world-view as well?
    The cats are outdoor.
    They are subject to predators.
    They are subject to animal-haters who might cross their paths.

    Yet the alternative - euthanasia - feels wrong to us. These cats in many cases are vibrant, energetic animals with a great friendliness when approached on their terms. They just refuse to acclimate to an indoor world.

    And while we're on the subject of outdoor cats...

    We are curious about your view on owners who do not keep their pets indoors. Before you answer (and again, due to your chosen anonymity, we don't know if you are a habitual reader of our blog's ramblings or a random drive-by :-)
    ...please let us state a few facts, to hopefully keep things in perspective.

    The USA is one of the few countries in the world that promotes the benefits of keeping a cat as an exclusively-indoor resident. We have many dear friends in other parts of the world whose pets may freely roam indoors and out.

    This is a relatively new mind-set: did you know that kitty litter wasn't invented until 1947? Prior to that,all feline companions were of the indoor-outdoor variety. (Or their owners were either incredibly tolerant or very inventive!)

    But we digress.

    Seriously, and with regard to your arguments specifically:
    what is the difference between a cat in a feral colony, a barn cat, and a cat whose owner allows it to roam the neighborhood?

    And we would also like to mention the alternative to TNR: if the cats are not neutered, the population will explode, placing strain on already-full shelters (not to mention the emotional trauma of having to euthanize so many animals!).

    Even the Cat Fanciers' Association agrees. In their article here, they argue for TNR, citing these numbers:

    "The average stray female will have 5.25 litters in her lifetime, encompassing 22.3 kittens. At age two months there should be 12.9 survivors, roughly six females and seven males (at maturity, roughly 2/3 of the stray cat population is male,(6) due to the high mortality of females during first pregnancy and birth), which will decrease to four females over time. These six females will go on to have their 22 surviving kittens each.

    Realistically, over 12 years one unspayed female with all her unspayed female offspring can reasonably be expected to be responsible for over 3200 kittens if there is no human intervention."

    As shelter volunteers and people who passionately love animals, a part of us dies each time we cannot successfully rehome a cat into a loving environment. It's not a perfect solution, no. But TNR, in our opinion, is the best solution we have in some cases, given the situation.

  9. OMC... This reminds me of that horrible, HORRIBLE person who attacked my peep when she was trying to raise money for the animal shelter. You're far better cats than I, I would have just deleted this 'person's' comment and reported him to Blogger. His/her opinions have no place on MY blog. The fact that you allowed the comments is admirable. I couldn't have done it. His comments are too horrendous. I'm still shaking at his words... Icky.

    1. Oh dear Nerissa! We are so very sorry we didn't catch this in time to save you the distress of having to read it! Especially given your mom's terrible experience! We didn't think and we apologize. We've been informed about that "anonymous" poster's identity and - as much as we tried to give that person the benefit of the doubt - it turns out that he is NOT an animal lover at all, and his post was not done out of a genuine kindness toward animals. Because of that, we deleted it.

    2. You do NOT need to apologize to me... or to the peep. You were attacked... and on your own blog, too. You were victims of this horrible person. You need NEVER apologize. I only hope that you will never be victimized by this sort again. My fur family and my peeps and I all love you guys (& girls, too) and want you to never be attacked like this again. What you've been doing with TNR is fantastic and wonderful and for it, you should be receiving praise. I'd give you a medal, if I had one, but I don't, so I'll give you my purrs. Okay?

  10. Thx to all for the great comments. I would love to see TNR working in many communities around the globe. It definitely works and helps the cats and the community. Thx to Ryker's Boyz for sharing the adventure!

    1. We are so happy we had the opportunity to share the story of the creation of a managed feral colony as it occurred! WIN!


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