Across the country, feral cat populations are continuing to increase. Here in New Jersey, thousands of feral cats are euthanized statewide. Our community must come together to help save more lives.
The GSARC has taken a leadership role in implementing a program proven to succeed in saving lives – Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR). TNVR specifically addresses the increasing feral cat population in a humane way. Feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to the community to live in managed colonies. Kittens and friendly stray cats are cared for and put up for adoption at the GSARC, immediately reducing the population of feral cats in the community.
We understand that TNVR is controversial. Many people think the Trap-Remove, which really means Trap-Kill, is the only solution to deal with feral cats. However, Trap-Kill has been proven NOT to work, while TNVR does.
1. Trap-Kill is more expensive for the municipality than TNVR and more people are willing to help with TNVR then with Trap-Kill.
2. There are not enough animal control resources to trap all cats in a short time to keep up with the reproduction. A female cat can start having kittens at 4 months old and can have four litters in one year. One mating pair can regenerate the population very quickly.
3. There is a “vacuum effect” where new cats fill the void due to migration from other colonies to take advantage of available food sources. With TNVR, the cats are released into managed colonies with registered caregivers who are the only people allowed to feed the feral cats. This stops late night “drive by” feeding by well-meaning individuals. The caregivers keep careful statistics on the population and most importantly, track the success of the TNVR for their colony.
4. Without community education, the source of the problem – people – will not change. Our TNVR program includes comprehensive humane education programs to educate the community about feral cats, the importance of keeping owned cats inside, and the vital importance of spay/neuter. Education is backed up by ordinances that include steep fines for the abandonment of cats into the community.
There are many myths about feral cats. Feral cats cannot be “rehabilitated.” Feral cats cannot be “fenced in.” There is no farm or sanctuary that can take all the feral cats in New Jersey.
Advantages of TNVR:
1. Population is immediately reduced via adoption of kittens and friendly adults
2. Spayed/Neutered cats roam less, don’t yowl or fight (which are typical mating behaviors)
3. Neutered male cats mark less often and with significantly less odor
4. Disease is reduced since the cats get vaccinated
5. Fewer nuisance calls about the feral cats
6. Most importantly, lives are saved!
TNVR is an effective and humane way to control the feral cat population. TNVR works because it is a multi-tiered approach. TNVR humanely stops the reproductive cycle, adoptable kittens and cats are brought into the GSARC and not released back outside, feral colonies are actually managed, and most importantly, comprehensive community education is provided to change human behavior.
The fact is, these cats are out there. TNVR means they are not reproducing, are disease-free, are cared for and cause less trouble in the community. Our plan is to stabilize the population, so the colonies reduce in population through natural attrition. Together we can reach our goal to significantly decrease the feral cat population around New Jersey over the next few years with our Community Cat Program.