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More and more, public health officials are embracing TNR programs for feral cats and replacing outdated policies based on unfounded fears.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