Each year, the Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC) accepts more than 600 cats into the facility that are classified as feral. As adults, feral cats cannot be rehabilitated into adoptable lap cats because they have not been socialized to humans and show signs of aggression. Sometimes these cats can be transferred to a rescue agency or ‘given a job’ through one of our feral cat re-homing programs such as the Barn Buddy Program. Another option is the Public Trap Neuter Return (PTNR) program.
Participants in the PTNR program bring a feral cat(s) into ACCC to be spayed/neutered and to receive vaccinations. Participants then return the cat(s) where they were found and monitor their health conditions. It is not recommended that participants house or feed feral cats since they will be returned to the community where they were thriving.
The benefit to the community is positive because these cats have been spayed/neutered and the likelihood of new cats moving into the area is reduced. Over time, their population numbers will decrease.
For more information on this program and how you can participate, please call 311 and ask to speak to the Animal Care & Control Centre
Why Trap Neuter Return?
Trap Neuter Return (TNR) programs help manage feral cat overpopulation by stopping the breeding cycle. While removal of feral cats from the community may arguably rid an area of cats temporarily, it is not an effective long-term solution because of a scientifically-documented phenomenon known as the vacuum effect (source: alleycat.org). This means that when cats are removed, new cats move in, or the surviving cats left behind breed to capacity. TNR allows the existing colony to remain in a stable state until the colony numbers naturally decline due to attrition.
TNR lowers cat intake into shelters, thereby lowering shelter euthanasia rates. Research shows that spay and neutering also reduces spraying, fighting and yowling as well as reducing the number of new cats into the neighbourhood. Through TNR, homeless and free roaming feral cats are humanely trapped, evaluated and sterilized by veterinarians. They are vaccinated, microchipped and then returned to their original habitat.
Cats are instinctually bonded to the area where they were born and raised. It is in the best interest of the cat to return them to their existing area once they are vaccinated, microchipped and spay/neutered.
Similar to other ‘wild’ animals, feral cats spend their whole lives learning to find food, stay warm during colder weather and live as a community. Unfortunately, without programs like this, their future in the shelter is often euthanasia.