Trap, Neuter, and Release is a significant way to support LCHS while also helping cats in one's neighborhood. According to the ASPCA, TNR is the only effective and humane method of reducing community cat overpopulation. Many cats fall under the umbrella of the term "community cat," ranging from feral cats that are highly fearful of people to friendly and unowned strays accustomed to living outdoors.
Alternatives to Trap-Neuter-Release
The other methods of dealing with free-roaming cats, trap-euthanize, and trap-relocate, come with a whole host of problems. Trap-euthanize, in particular, is both inhumane and ineffective. Trap-euthanize requires the constant trapping and killing of feral cats in a neighborhood, and it never stops because of the rapid rate at which cats reproduce. As Alley Cat Allies explains, when existing cats are removed from their territory, other cats in surrounding areas are still breeding. New cats seeking territory will fill the space that the removed cats have left until the new arrivals are trapped and euthanized. Trap-euthanize perpetuates a cycle of suffering in which cats' lives cut short.
Trap-relocate, while much more humane than trap-euthanize, also has issues. When relocated into an unfamiliar location, cats are at risk of predation, being attacked by pet dogs, or being hit by cars because they don't know the territory. Trap-relocate also removes the resident cats from the neighborhood, meaning that other, likely unaltered cats will quickly fill the unoccupied space as cats in surrounding areas continue to reproduce.
The Feral Cat Situation at LCHS
Trap-relocate is the method that we have to use at LCHS because we can only legally release cats on our property. Because of the extreme stress levels that feral cats experience at shelters, our goal is to have them spayed, neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and released as soon as their stray hold ends. We release such cats to our Barn Cat program, in which they are eligible for adoption as mousers.
Why People Bring Feral Cats to Shelters