At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. The better we understand our cats, the better we can support and protect their wellbeing. We hope our readers will adopt rescue pets instead of shopping from breeders or pet stores, and will also consider supporting local animal shelters.
I would just like to remind all the splat-cats, that para drops were merely your method of entry. You were not specialist in any form and once on the ground you were just another pair of boots. Or did you really expect the RAAF to have hercs on call to pick you up 24/7?
Pet Promise helps to provide a series of veterinary clinics, with subsidized low-cost spay and neuter options along with vaccinations for dogs and cats. They also provide preventive medicine (including flea/tick, mange and de-worming).
By spaying and neutering animals, it controls the pet population on the reservations. It also helps the animal in other ways. According to one estimate there are at least 1,500 stray dogs roaming the Navajo Nation alone. But the number may be four times this much. And there are many hundreds of stray cats as well.
To intensify this problem, animal humane agencies estimate that in 6 years alone, 1 female dog and its offspring can be the source of 67,000 puppies! And in 7 years, 1 female cat and its young can produce 420,000 cats!
Female cats in heat make this desperate cry, hoping to attract tomcats to ease their pangs of kitten-making desire. And cat screaming, a variant of cat yowling, is the final warning sound before a serious cat fight begins.
For the most part, cats meow only to communicate with humans, not with other animals, according to anthrozoologist John Bradshaw in his book, Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet (2013). Part of his evidence is that feral cats do not meow nearly as much as domesticated housecats.
Additionally, scientists believe that the meow is a manipulative behavior cats adopt to get what they want. Nicholas Dodman of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine argues that cats can learn which noises are most effective at getting their owners to do what they want them to do (Robins 2014).
One common misunderstanding among cat owners is that cats only purr when they are happy. Sandy Robins explains that while most cats do purr when they are happy, they also purr when they are anxious or in pain (Robins 2014).
In order to effectively manage a feral cat colony or TNR program, it's important to be able to quickly and easily identify cats who are already fixed. Clear identification avoids needless trapping and surgical procedures, and can alert shelter staff that they have a colony cat whose caretaker may be missing him. Eartipping has become standard practice to mark a neutered feral because it works much better than any other method currently known.
Other methods attempted include tattooing the inner ear, a metal clip on the side of the ear and keeping photo records of the cats. The problem with tattooing is the cat must first be captured and, if feral, sedated before the ear can be examined. In contrast, an eartip can be seen at a distance and no additional intervention is required. "Ear tags," as the metal clips are known, can get caught in twigs, branches or other objects, causing the ear to tear and sometimes the tag to fall off. Tags can also be difficult to see at a distance. Photos are useless if someone interested in whether the cats are fixed, like an animal control officer or another TNR trapper, doesn't have copies. Also, in many colonies, some cats look very similar and photos might be little help in identifying spay/neuter status.
A game of suspense, strategy, and anticipation. Get rid of the high cards (rats) and go for the low cards (cats). Sneak a peek, draw two, or swap cards for an added twist. Low score wins the game. (A poker face helps!)
2. Neuter (or spay): Take the cats in their traps to a veterinarian or clinic to be neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat. Learn more at alleycat.org/Eartip).
Since 1990, Alley Cat Allies has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals, shelters, and organizations worldwide improve the lives of cats by providing guidance on how to implement TNR and educating communities about the benefits of TNR. This guide will give you the knowledge and confidence needed to join the thousands of compassionate people around the world working to help community cats!
This fact should influence every choice you make when trapping. Cats often feel frightened and threatened when faced with a new experience and being trapped and transported to a veterinarian can be overwhelming for them. This is also true for cats who normally are docile around their caregivers.
Take time to feel comfortable and confident. Review all the TNR steps and scenarios in this booklet and online and create your own guide for your situation. Having a solid plan will help you stay calm when trapping, which ensures that the cats stay as safe and stress-free as possible.
They might well become upset if you trap the cats and take them away without explaining what you are doing first. Some of your neighbors may feed or otherwise care for the cats without you knowing. Coordination with them is not only polite, but also on a practical level it will help with trapping if you can encourage them to not feed the cats in the run-up to the day of trapping.
Stop by their homes and shops, introduce yourself, let them know you plan to help the neighborhood community cats and explain what TNR is and when you plan to do it. Door hangers can be found in our Shop (alleycat.org/shop) for you to drop off explaining what you plan to do, when and why.
By introducing yourself as the person to contact for questions or concerns, you can prevent potential issues from escalating and endangering the cats. Learn more about helping cats and people coexist at alleycat.org/CommunityRelations.
If there are signs the cats have other caregivers (for example: food, water bowls, or shelters in the area), consider leaving your contact information under a food bowl. In the note, be sure to mention you are there to help the cats. If there are other caregivers, engage with them about your plans. Their cooperation could be critical to your success.
Plan ahead to ensure you can provide immediate care to, and make decisions about, any ill or injured cats you trap. Have the phone number of a veterinarian who works with community cats on hand, as well as one whose practice will be open while you are trapping. Build up an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses so you are prepared to get a cat immediate medical treatment if necessary.
Community cats differ in how friendly, (socialized), they are to people. For example, many community cats are unsocialized and avoid contact with people, while some community cats may allow their caregiver to pet them, but avoid strangers. You can learn about cat socialization at alleycat.org/StrayOrFeral.
You may wish to try to find foster or adoptive homes to get some of the highly socialized cats adopted, but please know that adoption is not a necessity for socialized community cats. Regardless of level of socialization, if a cat is living and thriving outdoors now, he or she will continue to do so once returned to their outdoor home. Many community cats are deeply bonded to the other cats in their colony and returning to them will be in their best interest.
To get the cats used to coming out and eating while you are there (and help with your assessment process), establish a set time and place to feed the cats every day. Feed the cats as much as they can eat in a 30-minute period, and then pick up any remaining food after that period. If you have a feeding station, make sure it is positioned in an area that is free of human traffic and inconspicuous.
Tip: To make your TNR effort easier, put the food for the cats in unset traps for one to two weeks prior to the trapping day. (Take the back door off entirely) This will get the cats comfortable with seeing and walking into traps.
Do not put food anywhere else but inside the trap, and remove the back door or secure the door of the trap so it stays open. Remove the traps after the cats eat so there are no risks of theft, damage, or trapping a cat accidentally.
Or you can work with your own veterinarian. If they are unfamiliar with community cats but want to learn, please direct them to our comprehensive community cat veterinary resource center at alleycat.org/Veterinarian.
Fewer and fewer animal shelters and veterinary professionals test cats for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) as a matter of course, recognizing that they are incurable viruses that only affect cats. Not all cats who become infected with FIV will develop the disease, and even those who do live full lives.
Humans cannot catch or transmit these viruses. Community cats are no more likely to be infected with the virus than owned cats and will live healthy lives outdoors. In fact, pet cats and community cats contract FeLV and FIV at an equally low rate of about 4 percent.Many spay and neuter clinics do not test for FeLV or FIV, a position we support.
Alley Cat Allies has long advocated against routinely testing cats for FIV and FeLV. We recommend you check with the clinic to which you are thinking of bringing cats for spaying and neutering and confirming that they do not test of FIV or FeLV.
The cat will get a rabies and FVRCP vaccine. FVRCP is a three-in-one combination vaccine protecting cats from rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper). Other vaccines are not necessary.
Veterinarians should always scan cats for microchips immediately. By scanning for microchips, you may help reunite a stray cat with a family that misses them! Alley Cat Allies strongly recommends microchipping all the community cats who are part of your TNR effort. 041b061a72