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The Hardest part of TNR – Is the “R”

Posted 01-28-10 at 01:48 AM by meadd823
Updated 01-28-10 at 03:22 AM by meadd823

TNR = Trap Neuter Release – a program where feral cats are trapped in humane live traps, taken to a vet or clinic set up for handling feral cats. The cats are sedated given a medical exam by a veterinarian , vaccinated for rabies then surgically sterilized so they will no longer make kittens – The cats are then returned to the person who trapped them and once they recover enough to be able to move about, they are returned to the place where they were trapped and released back to their home free to live without the burden of reproduction.

I am, so lucky to live in an area where they have feral cats program so that I can take the pallet cats to have them “fixed” otherwise I would have been unable to get the pallet cats sterilized fast enough to prevent any more births – Between my house cats, yard kitties and pallets cats my budget is already maxed out I can not afford to feed any more kitties. I already spend more on cat food than I do my own.

I have a very tight knit group out at the pallet yard – Momma Meow rules with an iron paw – no questions asked. She and her daughter fuss and fight all the time but when every any other animal tries to enter the colony Momma Meow and Sissy Sue take turns attacking so until would be intruder runs off to escape them. I had a rather loud Tom arrive – I noticed some of my young pallet cats resembled him so I am guessing he and Momma Meow have met at least briefly. He went into his serenade but neither Momma Meow not Sissy Sue were in the least bit interested – they retired from their kitten making duties – Poor Tom cat s looked at me as if to ask “what am I doing wrong here”

Momma Meow and Sissy Sue went into their attack mode taking turns attacking while the other rested until he had grown weary and ran off – I did not expect to see him again. A few days later here he came back “singing” his loves songs, which were met with the same attacking female duo as his last visit except this time he was close enough to meal time to snag him a few bites on his way out. Although I admired his persistence I did not expect him to last – but every couple of days he would come up the road help himself to some dry food before being run off by the females once again.

After about a month I began calling him =- Klingon – the name had a duel meaning – He didn't flinch from the battles, he had many obvious scares from his escapades and despite the attack launched each and every time he came he returned any way – which leads me to the second meaning – Klingon – or cling on – he found a food bowl and he is clinging on -

He greeted me with a meow when he entered my property and when he gets ready to leave for the night he always stopped by my work table to say thank you before trudging off down the dirt road to ???

. While a female cat can produce four to five litters of kittens a year she is limited by her gestation times where as a male cat is not – A single male can mate several times a day every day making many many more kittens. Well the battle scared gent became a sort of vagabond member but the constant fights were obviously taking their toll mother nature willing it was time to retire the kitten making equipment. I was able to coax him into a trap and take him to the SPCA feral cat clinic in Austin and have him relieved of his “duties” and vaccinated – He was trapped on Wednesday , went to clinic on Thursday and I released him on Friday morning.

While getting a feral cat into a trap has been tricky and the closer I get to having every one at the pallet yard done the harder it is to trap one I haven't. They get scared in the car when it starts moving. I keep them covered up when they are inside my home so my house cats don't vex them. Some times when them weather is mild I let them stay in their trap on my back porch because they are more comfortable out of doors than they are inside my house. The yard kitties are all out in the fields or tucked away sleeping but the hardest part for me is the release.

I am glad they are getting to go back home – I read some where that while we see cats as belonging to people cats belong to places. They are very attached to the land they call home. Even though I did my best to make sure Klingon felt at home and I am pretty sure his primary living quarters is close by I knew that one he was freed from his trap I may never see him again. Some times after a feral cat is sterilized no matter how careful and calming one makes the process some cats are so freaked out that they run away from the area never to be seen again. While that thought worries me the sterilization and vaccination will remain with them where ever they go.

Even though I am peace with my decision the idea of never getting to so him or one of my other babies like Little Girl again saddens my heart – I worry about them being okay and I miss them at feeding times. They share a time and place yet live in a world of their own when I am able to relieve them of the burden of reproducing I feel like I play a major part. Releasing a cat never to see them again is sort of like being asked to play a major part in a show I may never get to actually watch – While releasing the feral cat back home and watching him/her return to freedom is my favorite part the process of letting go with no guarantee of ever seeing the kitty again is also the hardest part.

TOTAL spays/neuters since 2007: 12,200

The folks that are helping me with my Pallet Cats.

This community program embraces the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method of feral cat population control. TNR works! It is humane, non-lethal, effective in eliminating colonies, and is more reflective of a caring society. AHS provides a free and public spay/neuter program for Travis, Williamson, Bastrop and surrounding counties.

Friends of Felines

Lots of listings for low cost spay and neuters

Alley Cat Allies

Wide variety of information about feral cats, colonies and TNR programs

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Total Comments 5


  1. Old
    RedHairedWitch's Avatar
    Everyone at the Hedge misses hearing about your kitties!

    Its hard to love them and them let them go, knowing you'll never know their fate or hear them purrrrr again!

    Posted 02-03-10 at 03:13 PM by RedHairedWitch RedHairedWitch is offline
  2. Old
    meadd823's Avatar
    Hey girl - thanks for coming by

    I hope to get back to the hedge - I miss many of my spiritual activities but hopefully I will be able to return in a couple of weeks

    Here in Texas feline females are already going into heat - meaning kitten season will begin in March and it usually last until about October - Our winters are short so our breeding seasons are killer -

    Last year almost did me under so I have been trapping every week hoping to get the queens before they begin "kittening" and catch the males while they are still hanging around scarfing food - In a couple of weeks the weather here is going to warm up meaning all the un-neutered males will begin wandering off in search of females.

    The last month as been like a race against the calendar so to speak - At the pallet yard I am hoping to trap the last two "regulars" and take them in to releive them of the burden of procreation My pallet yard colony is strong enough to keep other cats from invading especially with Momma Meow Now that she is all fixed and fed she is so fat and sassy.

    I am also trying to decrease the number of feral litters here at the house - The colony here is still new I am hoping I can get enough fixed and hanging around so that the cats them selves will prevent more unsterilized cats from moving in and leaving kittens in my wood shead, on my porch, under my car ect. . .

    I am feeding 30 cats a day I love all my kitties but I can't afford to feed any more.
    Posted 02-05-10 at 01:42 AM by meadd823 meadd823 is offline
    Updated 02-05-10 at 02:27 AM by meadd823
  3. Old
    Normal Mom's Avatar
    There are many wild cats in my rural area as well. There is a colony living at the edge of the woods at the back of our property. We put a few old dog houses Husband found for free, fixed up and filled with straw out there for them.

    We have been feeding them dry kibble we buy in bulk from the local feed store an a mash I make, mostly with leftovers to add extra nutrition.

    Winter is long and cold here so they need the body fat to keep warm.

    My recipe:

    Store any uneaten or left over meats, cooked eggs, and some bones.
    Keep chicken gizzards, livers and such.
    Buy canned tuna as can afford.
    A tsp of olive oil and a tsp of fish oil.

    Grind it all up with meat grinder.

    Mix with dry kibble.

    I find it makes the kibble last longer as they get more nutrition.

    Its wonderful to see other working hard to save cats. We are planning on trapping and spaying soon but do not want to stress them too much during the coldest month of the year.

    Best of luck!
    Posted 02-07-10 at 02:54 PM by Normal Mom Normal Mom is offline
  4. Old
    meadd823's Avatar
    If our winters were any thing like yours I would hold off also - especially the females who have to have a large part of their torso shaved - like burr . .

    I mix left over meat, gravy, and cooked eggs up in with some inexpensive wet food for our pallet cats because they have no heat out there in the middle of a field I did make them a cat shack they stay in so they do have shelter. - I try not to feed any of my cats to much tuna made for humans although they all love the stinky cat variety, it is cheaper any way .

    My pallet cats will eat just about any thing in the winter, they will come up and help me eat my chips or even my granola on break.

    Our winter is fixing to be over. We have a really short winters in Texas three maybe four months

    I am glad others are working with the feral cats - they aren't lap cats but I still enjoy them.

    Thanks for stopping by
    Posted 02-17-10 at 07:50 AM by meadd823 meadd823 is offline
  5. Old
    zumba_chick's Avatar
    Hi meadd823! Just stumbled onto this blog post. Thanks so much for the work you do! My family adopted a feral cat, Franky, from a cat rescue about a year and half ago. He was caught, fixed, they clip a little part of the ear to signify that he is feral and was taken in. It was determined that Franky would be better off as an indoor cat. The woman who runs the rescue told us to never let him outside, I don't think he cares. He loves to look out the window but has no desire to go outside when we come and go. Our other cat Kuzya, has been indoor cat his entire life - he is very curious about the outside.

    I was kind of wondering how many cats, roughly as a percentage, are not able adjust back to the wild? Franky is the biggest baby, 4yrs old, he is the biggest sweetheart ever! he is also VERY cautious, he scares easy, but overall - he just wants lovin and petting. I often wonder how he survived out there, I guess they go into more of a flight or fight type mode. I think he was, perhaps, significantly changed after being neutered. Maybe being inside and cared for he thought, wow, I like it here!?

    We have 2 cats, Kuzya who is 12 adjusted incredibly well with the addition of Franky. Franky just naturally took the submissive role, he simply does not care. They play all the time, it's great for both cats to have a companion.

    Thanks for everything you do! I support your mission to help cats 100%.
    Posted 08-21-11 at 12:02 PM by zumba_chick zumba_chick is offline
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