Trap, Neuter, Release

As a pre-vet major, I really like to things lose their manhood’s. 

I’m sure you’re well aware, there’s just far too many unwanted animals in the world.  And although I am usually an avian type of person, I am first and foremost an animal person.  One of the biggest problems animal activists face is trying to diminish the amount of unwanted animals in the world without destroying the animals that are living.  I mean, try walking through a shelter and picking out the animals that have to die, just because there are too many of them.  Do you pick three brown ones, because there are two other brown ones in there already?  Or do you pick the older ones, just because they’re 4 and not 2?  Do you pick the ones that have been there the longest just because they don’t seem to go, or do you pick the ones that seem new and afraid, because they might never warm up?  So, the best solution to this issue without having to play eenie meanie miney moe is to stop breeding!  Spay and neuter!!!

One issue that has been on the rise in recent years is the feral cat colonies.  Heres what happens: some genius can’t get rid of the kittens he let his cat have, so he tosses them into the streets.  The kittens wander around until they find a nice porch to live under and someone feels bad for them and starts putting out food.  Now the kittens have a stable food source and grow into cats.   The person who feeds them doesn’t want to take responsibility for them.  After all, they never wanted a cat.  They were just being a good person and feeding a stray animal.  Now the cats begin to have kittens.  And the kittens grow into cats and have kittens.  The longer the cycle goes on, the wilder the animals become.  Feral cats are not pets anymore!  They’re wild animals!

These colonies can very quickly become overrun, and then the people don’t want them there anymore.  Feral cats peeing in their kids sandboxes, cats getting into their trash, ect ect.  They want them gone.  So, they either leave them go, or start shooting them.  Some system we have here.

Animal activists have created another system that amazing works more efficiently than the original genius’.  It’s called Trap, Neuter, Release.  Essentially, a team of volunteers traps the feral cats, knocks them out, spays or neuters them, and releases them back to their original colony location.  This way, they cannot produce anymore kittens, stay out of more fights, stop the spread of some diseases, and can live out their life as a wild animal that is no longer contributing to the growing population.  While the cats are under anesthesia, they also test for deadly diseases, vaccinate for rabies, apply flea and tick protection, worm the cats, remove any mats and brush them, check them for any immediate medical problems like rotten teeth or open wounds, and tip the cats left ear so they know if they catch them again that they were already spayed or neutered.  All the cats are given a dose of long-lasting antibiotic to prevent infections, .

I had the privilege of working with Dr. Morrow at a TNR event this past weekend.  They spayed and neutered over 70 cats in one day between two vets, which is huge.  They also removed teeth, provided wound care, and administered many doses of the rabies vaccine.  Of course, you can’t always save them all.  Feral cat colonies are known to be highly inbred and can easily become overrun with highly contagious diseases.  Two cats tested positive for fatal diseases like Feline leukemia and FLV and were euthanized to avoid further infecting their colony and to alleviate their inevitable long, drawn out death.  Another cat was so skinny due to severe mouth ulcers because he couldn’t eat and was euthanized as well.  They did it all while that cats were under anesthesia so they wouldn’t have to feel anything. 

It was such an inspiring day.  It was so great to be a part of something that had such a good cause and to see that all the cats would get to live out their lives without causing more of a problem.  If anyone is interested in helping with the feral cat population, I would highly recommend looking for your local animal welfare organizations and trying to get involved in a TNR event.  And remember, please spay and neuter!!!

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