At the Hamilton Burlington SPCA our hope is a safe and comfortable home for all animals. But what happens when that particular animal’s perfect home is outside?
For many community cats their ideal home is not one that fits into our “box or idea” of what an animal’s home should be. Not all cats are meant to live in a home. To many community cats Home Sweet Home is outside, and they are quite content with this. Most of these cats will never be the warm affectionate, snuggly, adoptable cat that you would bring home to your family. These cats have never been socialized or learned how to be a house pet, nor do they want to, they’re most comfortable outside as a community cat, living freely.
Check out Karen, our Manager of Animal Care & Adoptions, community cat pack enjoying their dinner by sunset. You could say they look “very well loved”.
So some cats want to live outside with no couch to cozy up on? WEIRD…..so what can we do for these cats?
We can support them by providing them with regular care and population control aka T-N-R.
Spay/Neuter is a crucial part of TNR, as without it there would be no population control for community cats. A kitten as young as four months can become pregnant. Just to put it in perspective:
That’s a lot of cats! As you can see it really doesn’t take long for the population of a colony to grow substantially. This is why spay/neuter is so important. Mating is stressful for both the cats and those who live in the community. TNR will help to reduce mating behaviours such as roaming, yowling, spraying and fighting. These cats will also be rescued from the constant cycle of breeding and poor health.
Enter the Hamilton Burlington SPCA Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program:
The HBSPCA Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program works with the help of community caregivers, volunteers and like-minded organizations to ensure that these community cats are humanly trapped, altered, vaccinated, microchipped and then returned to their territory.
Once returned a dedicated caregiver will provide a watchful eye and regular care for the cats. These community cats will continue to live their lives happily with the support of a colony caregiver on their side.
Wait a tick….RETURNED?
The truth is Community Cats are here to stay. They can’t simply be removed, as more will move into the territory and we would be back at square one.
Removing cats will only temporarily reduce the number of community cats in a given area. Two things will happen: intact cats will continue to breed and other unaltered cats will move into the now available territory to take advantage of the same resources that attracted the first group. This phenomenon is known as the vacuum effect.
By implementing TNR practices in the community, strides will be made toward reducing the community cat population long term.
The goal of the HBSPCA TNR Program is to effectively manage community cats in a humane way while looking out for the welfare of both the cats and those who reside in the community.
For more information or to become a colony caregiver or maybe you just want to lend a paw to those community cats in need. Visit TNR