This is an interesting photograph by Ed Kaiser, for me. It shows 16 cat carriers; large cat carriers that look like traps that are being used as cat carriers (is that a poor assessment?). The carriers are covered and inside it seems that there are 16 cats from a feral cat colony who have been spayed and neutered under an Edmonton Humane Society TNR clinic. I take this to mean that they have specifically targeted a feral cat colony in the city in a campaign to help stabilise the population.
It’s reported by the Edmonton Journal that on Saturday they had 94 cats from this colony; all patients of their trap-neuter-return clinic. Veterinary staff spent the day spaying and neutering the cats which came from a rural property north-east of Edmonton.
Of the 94 cats spayed and neutered, 58 will be returned in the conventional way, while 36 kittens will be socialised and a home will be found for them.
In addition to spaying and neutering the Edmonton Humane Society vaccinate the cats and treat them for parasites. They also identify them. The report does not say how but I wonder whether they microchip them which would be interesting. Or perhaps they use a tattoo ID on the inside of the ear flap? The report does not say how this is done. Perhaps they mean that the cats are ear tipped to indicate that they have been treated under a TNR program.
The large number of kittens indicates how quickly feral cats can procreate when they have not been sterilised. It is this which helps to create the so-called ‘feral cat problem’.
Liza Sunley, the CEO of the Edmonton Humane Society, remarked that they do their best to “ensure their welfare and ability to live safely in the outdoor environment where they are most comfortable in coexistence with their surrounding communities”. Nice words. Some will disagree with her but she’s right. It is the best way.
She wants the cats to be as healthy as possible while living in the community. I think she sees TNR as the best compromise at the moment. The cats are treated decently and they are protected against disease. Wildlife is also protected because the colony numbers are stabilised and gradually reduced.
It appears that the Edmonton Humane Society worked with a task force formally the Alberta Spayed and Neuter Task Force. It is staffed by volunteers and it is a charity. The task force executive director, RJ Bailot, said that the clinics help to support communities where there are feral cats and their work helps to deal with them humanely.
The cats were trapped on Friday. And as mentioned the photograph shows the cats ready to be taken back for release on Saturday. This is a fast turnaround for obvious reasons. I guess the cats have to heal themselves pretty quickly after the operation. This may be a contentious point; how much time do you allow cats to recover from the spaying operation which is far more invasive than the male neutering op. A designated caretaker is appointed where they are returned. I presume that this is to ensure that they settle in properly and they can provide feedback to the organisers. They also provide the usual food water and shelter for the animals.
Comment: I sense from the report that this is a very well organised and professional team of volunteers who deserve praise by the citizens of Edmonton and the administrators of that city. It is the best way to deal with feral cats because it is the most humane way. It’s obvious; people have a duty to treat feral cats in a kindly manner because the only reason why they are in the predicament that they are in is because of human behaviour.
Note: Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. It’s about 800 km from the US border, north of Montana.
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