Are you feeding stray cats?
Like many other animals, feral cats live outdoors. If you are feeding neighborhood cats, thanks for providing care to our feline neighbors. Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR is a program where cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, ear tipped for identification purposes and then returned to their original colony location where they are cared for by a colony manager.
Unmanaged and uncontrolled cat colonies can be nuisances to people living nearby. Spayed and neutered cats make better neighbors and will help reduce the cat overpopulation problem. The annoying cat mating behaviors such as yowling and fighting will decrease and there will be no more stray kittens.
Traditional methods of attempting to control feral cat populations simply do not work. Trapping, removing and euthanizing feral cats does not reduce the population in the community because it creates a “vacuum effect”. This simply means that if you remove cats from an area, other cats will eventually take their place.
The more cost effective and humane approach to feral cat management is Trap-Neuter-Return. TNR helps the community by stabilizing the population of the feral colony and, over time, reducing it.
We want to help the feral cats by:
- Providing low cost and sometimes free spaying and neutering for cats in permitted colonies.
- Vaccinating against rabies and other illnesses.
- Once trapped, sterilized and vaccinated, cats will be ear-tipped for identification purposes. By ear tipping we will easily identify a cat as being already sterilized and reduce stressful handling.
About Ear Tipping
- Ear tipping is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Ear tipping is the easiest way to indentify a feral cat as being sterilized. If an ear tipped sterilized feral cat is caught during a “TNR catching”, the cat can immediately be released. If the cat is otherwise identified (such as a tattoo or microchip) the feral cat would be subjected to stressful handling which would also expose the Colony Manager to possible injury.
- Ear tipping is a medical surgical procedure done while the cat is under anesthesia.
- Ear tipping shows that a cat has been sterilized, vaccinated and is part of a managed feral colony.
- Ear tipping is considered essential by experienced feral cat advocates and is endorsed by all major humane groups
- This procedure is not equivalent to ear cropping for cosmetic fashion in dogs.
In 2011, Pueblo Animal Services supported a change to the Pueblo Municipal Code to allow for the feeding of feral cats, if a person is a permitted Feral Cat Colony Manager. We began permitting Feral Cat Colony Managers in September of 2011.
We have limited funding to help pay for spaying and neutering, vaccinations and ear tipping of colony cats. We continue to seek resources to expand this program. If you would like to donate or volunteer for this program, please call (719) 404-5415.
Common Questions about the TNR Program
How do I become a Permitted Feral Cat Colony Manager?
If you are already feeding feral cats, the first step is to complete and submit a Feral Cat Colony Manager Application and Colony Manager Agreement. The Colony Manager Agreement outlines expectations of care and responsibilities on the part of the Colony Manager and Pueblo Animal Services. If the application is approved, a site visit is scheduled to verify that landowner permission was obtained, there are dry shelters for the cats and that the location is appropriate for the program. If the site is approved, then the colony is permitted and arrangements for trapping, spay/neuter, and vaccination can proceed.
What is the purpose of the Colony Manager Agreement?
In order to define expectations and avoid possible conflict, a agreement between the Colony Manager and PAS is signed. This way both parties know what to expect and what their responsibilities are.
What are the benefits of working with PAS on the feral cat issue?
Permitted colonies are provided free or very low-cost (depending on funding) rabies vaccinations and sterilizations. Humane traps are loaned to permitted colony managers at no cost.
How does the colony manager maintain a colony and communicate with the Program Manager?
Colony Managers are required to file an annual report and keep an ongoing census of the colony. They can contact PAS about any changes or events pertaining to the colony.
Does being a Colony Manager require public speaking?
No. Being a colony manager means sometimes speaking with a member of the public to answer questions about the benefits of the PAS TNR Program. It does not require Colony Managers to stand before crowds of people to make speeches. Colony Managers may be asked to provide support to other Colony Managers to assist with trapping or neighborhood issues.
What are the requirements and time commitments of a Colony Manager?
Colony Managers need to be at least 18 years old and willing to visit the colony once a day for feeding, watering, and colony maintenance. Colony Managers need to make arrangements to have the colony cared for in their absence. Colony Managers are responsible for trapping, transport to PAS for surgery and recovery, and release of colony members after surgery.
If you are interested in helping your neighborhood stray cats, call (719) 404-5417.