TNR (Trap Neuter Release)
Pals of Paws Society has a very active and successful TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program in place to help curb the growing stray cat population in Northwest Mississippi. Our volunteers work to trap feral cats, bring them to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, and then, once they have healed, they are returned into the environment in which they were captured, with their ears tipped so that they aren't mistakenly trapped again.
Why trap and neuter stray cats?
As a result of the feline reproductive cycle, feral cat colonies can very quickly reproduce and grow out of control. In Mississippi, because the weather is warm, a female cat can have up to three litters per year (versus two litters per year in colder regions). It is vital that stray cat colonies are not allowed to reproduce uncontrolled, or it can lead to exponential growth in colony size. Additionally, unfettered colonies can quickly spread feline illnesses such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which puts domestic cats in the area at risk of contracting these illnesses.
How are they trapped?
Stray cats are usually trapped using a standard live catch cage trap using tuna or other attractive bait as lures. These traps do not harm the cats and our volunteers can easily collect the trap and bring the cat to a veterinarian safely. It is not wise to attempt to capture feral cats by hand, as they may bite or claw at you. Cat bites are a serious injury that can lead to infection if not treated with antibiotics. If you have a stray cat problem near you, please reach out to us before attempting to trap them yourselves.
Why release them?
Feral cats are typically not adoptable. They are often inbred and forced to rely on their survival instincts since birth. They don't trust humans, their behavior can be unpredictable, and they typically cannot be tamed or domesticated with any amount of training. However, feral cat colonies are not necessarily harmful to the community, provided that their population can be controlled, and feline diseases are not permitted to spread throughout them. So, releasing the cat back into its original environment is more humane than the only other alternative, euthanasia. These cats also serve an important purpose in highly industrialized ares where they provide pest control without the use of harmful chemicals or inhumane traps.
How can I help?
If you are interested in helping with our TNR program, please fill out a volunteer application or reach out to us. Please do not attempt to capture feral cats on your own without the proper equipment or training - which we can provide. If you are aware of feral colony near you and would like us to assist with the situation, please contact us.
The Community Cat Podcast: Provides a ton of great resources and training on TNR.
Alley Cat Allies: Provides excellent step-by-step guides on how to humanely trap cats.