NHS seeks community support for new TNR program

NHS TNR Program.png

NHS- As with most towns, Natchitoches has a feral cat population living in backyards, vacant buildings, streets and fields. To survive, they eat garbage and may hunt small animals.

This feral cat problem stems from cats that are abandoned or born to other feral cats. If they aren’t spayed or neutered, those cats breed from as young as five months old. Feral cat colonies grow as litter after litter of kittens is born and grow up without human contact.

The Natchitoches Humane Society announced the start of its trap-neuter-return (TNR) program in Natchitoches Parish.

Feral cats live full, healthy lives outdoors and there’s no reason for them to be killed in shelters. Current animal control and shelter policies result in millions of healthy cats being killed each year. Not surprisingly, this endless cycle of killing violates the humane ethic of most Americans.

Many communities throughout the US have begun TNR programs. The idea behind TNR is to reduce the number of kittens being born in a cat colony. With TNR, organizations and/or volunteers trap the cats. A veterinarian performs spay or neuter operations. The cats are vaccinated against rabies and an ear is marked to show that they’ve had the operation. Once the cats recover, they are returned to their colony.

Volunteers provide them with food, water, shelter and love. Kittens and cats who are friendly and socialized to people may be adopted into homes.

Neutering feral cats is an act of compassion and helps improve their wellbeing.

More and more, public health officials are embracing TNR programs for feral cats and replacing outdated policies based on unfounded fears.

Grounded in science, TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats and therefore improves their lives while preventing reproduction. It is a fact that the removal and killing of outdoor cats that animal control has been pursuing for decades is never ending and futile. Since feral cats are not adoptable, they are killed in pounds and shelters. With a successful program like TNR to turn to, it’s hard to believe that animal control agencies continue to kill cats, even though that approach has shown zero results.

It’s time to learn from past mistakes and move forward instead of going around in circles—it’s time to stop fighting the endless battle of catch and kill and protect cats’ lives.

To humanely reduce this population of unwanted cats, the Natchitoches Humane Society would like to form a Feral Friends Volunteer group to institute a Spay/Neuter and Release Program. If you would like to be a part of the solution for these abandoned and often forgotten felines email natchitocheshumane@yahoo.com. We need folks who can make trips to Robinson’s Rescue in Bossier, foster homes, etc. We can make a difference but it will take some effort and dedication from the public.

3 thoughts on “NHS seeks community support for new TNR program

  1. I’m conflicted with this. While on one hand I understand the desire to quell the population of feral cats and the program attempts to address this in a humane manner; the other hard fact is that feral cats are a huge threat to our native ecosystem and will destroy bird, lizard, snake, rabbit, and other rodent populations.

    That being said, the TNR program will only be successful if it is done in an aggressive manner by ensuring all feral cats are spayed and neutered. Otherwise, the only other means of control and preservation of our native species will be an intervention of eradication.

    • Destroying snake and rodent populations represents a threat??? Sign me up! I’m all for the destruction of rodents, for sure.

      • Every animal has a place in its ecosystem. Snakes eat a lot of rodents. If you kill too many snakes, there will be too many rats, mice, squirrels, and rabbits. Likewise, rodents are a food source for many other animals besides snakes like hawks, owls, coyotes, and foxes. So if you kill too many rodents, these predators will starve. Eventually, rodent populations will grow again because they reproduce at a much faster rate than predators. Then you’re back at square one. Mother Nature, God, whatever you believe in created a delicate, balanced system. Humans enter the picture and disturb the balance when we interfere. Leave nature alone to take care of itself.

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