Presentation on theme: "Maurna Winterer, Volunteer www.thefoundationforhomelesscats.org Homeless Cats in your Community What is your cat management plan? We help educate businesses,"— Presentation transcript:
Maurna Winterer, Volunteer www.thefoundationforhomelesscats.org Homeless Cats in your Community What is your cat management plan? We help educate businesses, shopping centers, homeowner associations, apartment complexes, mobile home parks, and other residential communities on the homeless cat situation in their area and work towards developing a humane and workable solution for both residents and cats going forward.
What is TNR? It is a management method for homeless, stray, and untamed (aka, feral) cats that involves: 1.T rapping members of a cat colony 2.N eutering them (or spaying, includes a general health check & eartipping) 3.R eturning the cats to their original site 4.Providing long-term caretaking/monitoring
Eartip = ¼ inch straight line cut off tip of left ear
Where do stray, homeless, and feral cats come from? -A stray or homeless cat is living on its own, but most likely was once someones pet. If rescued soon enough, a homeless / stray cat can once again become someones pet. However, the longer these cats are left outside to fend for their own survival, they will begin to fear humans and ultimately become unadoptable. -A feral cat is one that has not been socialized by humans. They generally run away when approached, and are considered unadoptable by animal shelters. If rescued early on, kittens produced by feral cats can be socialized and ultimately adopted into homes.
What is a colony? Feral and stray/homeless cats tend to live in groups centered around a common food source. This could be a dumpster found at a business, residential trash cans that are left uncovered, or small rodents found in the area.
U.S. Feral Cat Population Estimates 13 million in winter, 24 million in summer (Clifton, M., Where cats belong – and where they dont, ANIMAL PEOPLE [June 2003].) 50 million (Levy, J., Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations , Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol. 225, No. 9. ) 60 to 100 million (Alley Cat Allies, Tracking Our Success .)
Additional Feral Cat Statistics: 50 million feral cats = 147 million kittens/yr = 82% of kittens born per year Pet cats = 85% sterilization rate Feral cats = 2% sterilization rate Levy, J., Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations (2004), Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assn., Vol. 225, No. 9.
What can be done to address homeless, free-roaming cats? 1)Do nothing 2)Feeding bans 3)Trap & Remove (usually for euthanasia) 4)Sterilization (TNR)
Do nothing fails because: Cats are territorial and will not leave a suitable habitat (available shelter and food). Cats will keep reproducing. Residents will continue to experience negative effects from the cats behaviors (spraying, yowling, fighting, mating, odor). No solution in sight perpetuates the negative attitude within the community towards the cats, and complaints continue to escalate.
Feeding bans fail because: They are unenforceable. It is difficult to remove every food source. If a food source is removed, cats will encroach more on residents homes in search of food. Cats can go for long periods of time without food, and will still continue to reproduce. Malnourished cats lead to parasitic infestations & disease.
Trap and remove fails because: Too many homeless cats exist, and there are not enough animal control resources to address the population. When weighing available options, most people do not want to see the cats killed (euthanized). Too expensive to implement. MCACC will take a trapped feral cat, but charges $96.00 for it to be euthanized. A feral cat is considered unadoptable. Removing cats produces a vacuum effect.
What is the vacuum effect? First documented by wildlife biologist, Roger Tabor, in his studies on Londons street cats. (Tabor, Roger, The Wild Life of the Domestic Cat; 1984) Feral cat colonies spring up and subsist in certain locations because the habitat provides the food, water, and shelter they need to survive. When the cats are removed and the habitat remains unchanged, other unsterilized cats from neighboring areas move in to fill the void and the cycle starts all over again. Irresponsible people will still continue to abandon cats or leave their unsterilized pet cats outdoors which contributes to the reproductive rates in a colony.
Fantasy solutions: Socialize/adopt – Very difficult & time-consuming to socialize an adult feral Sanctuaries – Very few exist and, too often, can turn into hoarding situations. Plus, there are too many cats and will never be enough sanctuaries. Cat licensing & leash laws – May or may not help reduce future inflow into the feral population, and it certainly doesnt address the current problem.
TNR Advantages 1.Most effective and humane solution. 2.No more cats being reproduced. 3.Least expensive solution for the community. 4.Endorsed by HSUS, ASPCA, MCACC, AZ Humane Society, and countless other organizations across U.S. 5.Volunteer caregivers in the community can share the responsibility for feeding the cats and monitoring the health of the colony. 6.Over time, number of cats will decrease through natural attrition. 7.Manageable solutions exist for residents experiencing cat nuisance issues (defecating in yards, odor issues, etc.) Complaints are reduced, if not completely eliminated, once the cats have been sterilized. 8.No vacuum effect as cats remain in the community.
TNR is supported by local animal agencies MCACC –... We have over 20 years of documented proof that traditional ways of dealing with feral cats don't work. The catch and kill method of population control (trap a cat, bring it to a shelter, ask that the cat be euthanized), has not reduced the number of feral cats.... After many years of study, MCACC has decided to take a proactive stand in the way we believe feral cats should be handled and controlled. The Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) of feral cats is a proven, humane method of feral cat population control.... http://www.maricopa.gov/Pets/FieldEnforcement/FeralCa ts.aspx
TNR is supported by local animal agencies AHS –... We at the Arizona Humane Society endorse TNR as a humane way to manage feral cats in your area....... were pursuing TNR (trap/neuter/release) solutions at the urging of Animal Defense League of Arizona and others, who are actively involved in the local feral cat community. We believe TNR will prove to be more successful solution to reducing our feline intake, as well as cat over-population.... http://www.azhumane.org/artman2/publish/programs/surr ender.shtml http://www.azhumane.org/artman2/publish/aboutus/faqs. shtml http://www.azhumane.org/artman2/publish/programs/surr ender.shtml http://www.azhumane.org/artman2/publish/aboutus/faqs. shtml
Does TNR really work? University of Central Florida - 155 cats on campus in 1991 - 23 cats in 2002 (85% ) Levy, et.al. (2003a), Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap-neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population, Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association 222: 42-46.
Reece, J.F., S.K. Chawla (2006), Control of rabies in Jaipur, India, by the sterilization and vaccination of neighbourhood dogs, The Veterinary Record, 159: 379- 383. Nov. 1994 thru Dec. 2002, in target area: 19,129 dogs TNRed 65% female, 6% male sterilization level attained RESULTS: Dog population 28% Rabies cases zero in target area last 2 years of study; increased in other parts of Jaipur Jaipur, India
Newburyport, MA (Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society) - 300 cats on riverfront in 1991 - 1 st year: trapped 200, adopted out 100, returned 100 - 100% sterilization in 1998 - 1 cat left today (35 feeders!) - opened local shelter and spay/neuter clinic to address sources of ferals
NYC Feral Cat Database as of 7/24/08 (self-reporting by caretakers) - 458 cat colonies - 6141 cats reported at TNR Start Dates - 4613 cats currently (25% ) - Average spay/neuter rate = 67%
Other Community Examples San Francisco – 1993 through 1999, TNR part of comprehensive program including spay/neuter, adoptions: intake down 28%, euthanasia down 71% (including 73% for ferals) Indianapolis – Oct. 2004 through Dec 2007, 10,000 feral spay/neuters: intake down 37%, euthanasia down 29%. Long Beach, NY – over 400 feral spay/neuters since April 2005: intake down 62% in 2007 cf. 2005.
Cat Over-Population Statistics Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year: 6-8 million Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year: 3-4 million Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 3-4 million Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year: Between 600,000 and 750,00030 percent of dogs and 2-5 percent of cats entering shelters Number of animal shelters in the United States: Between 4,000 and 6,000 Average number of litters a fertile cat can produce in one year: 3 (National Council on Pet Population, Study, and Policy estimate) Average number of kittens in a feline litter: 4-6 (National Council on Pet Population, Study, and Policy estimate) Unless otherwise indicated, statistics provided by The Humane Society of the United StatesThe Humane Society of the United States
Organizations that help homeless cats There are over 1000 organizations across the country that are committed to helping homeless Cats. In Arizona, here are just a few.. The Foundation for Homeless Cats – Phoenix www.thefoundationforhomelesscats.org Animal Defense League of Arizona – Phoenix www.adlaz.org www.adlaz.org AZ Cats (Arizona Cat Assistance Team) / Altered Tails – Phoenix http://www.alteredtails.org/ http://www.alteredtails.org/ Campus Cats & Critter Rescue – Tempe http://www.asu.edu/clubs/campuscats/cccr.htm http://www.asu.edu/clubs/campuscats/cccr.htm Friends for Life Animal Sanctuary – Gilbert (low-cost spay/neuter, feeding and TNR when funds permit) http://www.azfriends.org/ http://www.azfriends.org/ Mildcats at ASU – Tempe http://www.mildcatsatasu.org/ http://www.mildcatsatasu.org/ Spay Neuter Hotline / Trap Neuter Return Program - Statewide www.SpayNeuterHotline.org www.SpayNeuterHotline.org
So how are we helping Sunland Village today? I met with Gordon Clark and discussed a recommended cat management plan. A feeding station was set up at the beginning of July, and is being monitored / replenished by a resident willing to help out. It would be good idea to find more willing residents who could help feed the cats, if/when needed, if the primary caregiver cannot. First trapping of cats occurred on Saturday, August 1, and 10 cats were caught (5 male; 5 female). They were spayed / neutered and returned to the community on Monday, August 3. It is estimated that approximately 30 cats exist in the community today. Future trappings will be done to sterilize the rest of the cats. Proven non-toxic and non-lethal solutions will be offered to residents who are experiencing cat nuisance and odor issues. (handouts) Donations will be needed by residents to sterilize the rest of the cats.