Controlling the Population of Feral Cats

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There are many communities across North America (and the world) that are faced with large numbers of undomesticated cats “on the streets”. To prevent population growth of these colonies of cats, some communities in conjunction with local veterinarians have set up trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs to trap feral cats, spay or neuter them, and then return them to their colony. Population control is achieved because there is felt to be minimal migration between different cat colonies, so rendering all cats sterile in a colony will eventually lead to a humane method of population control.

But this is not as easy as it seems. One example is a TNR program in Savannah, Georgia called The Milton Project that recently had to suspend its operations. The problems weren’t logistical, but legal and moral. Allowing cats to roam free is often not allowed by municipal law and animal control regulations, nor is it typically acceptable by regular citizens (pet owners and non-pet owners alike) in general. For instance, bird lovers have become increasingly vocal about free-roaming cats and the devastation they can wreak upon bird populations. Many believe that all cats trapped should be kept forever indoors, but shelters do fill up, some rather quickly, to the point where getting a cat in there is harder than getting a reservation at the hottest restaurant in New York. 

So the problem of overpopulation of cats is not an easy problem to solve. Educating yourself on programs in your community helps, and please do your par, neuter or spay your cat at a young age!

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