Poor TNR (trap-neuter-return) is worse than no TNR

Feeding feral cats
Feeding feral cats. Photo by wonderferret (Flickr)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

So, poor TNR is worse than no TNR. Right? Put it another way – as a Catster writer effectively did – euthanasia of stray and feral cats is better than feeding them and people who feed stray and feral cats make people mad.

Some people, a lot of people in fact, would agree that it is better to euthanise stray or feral cats than feed them which is most often part of the TNR process.

The lady author on Catster, Meghan Lodge, thinks this. This is a quote from her article:

….pardon me. I wasn’t aware that humane euthanasia, as awful as it may sound, was so horrible in comparison to adding to the population of intact, unvaccinated homeless cats. I don’t like to see any animal die, but I also don’t like seeing people willfully contribute to the problem instead of being part of the solution….

She lives with three cats and two dogs, which surprises me. Her article is extraordinarily wrong and exaggerated. She claims that cats of a local feral cat colony close to where she lives are so inbred that they have missing eyes, ears and limbs. Uhmm, ridiculous, obviously. What Megan states is clearly complete nonsense. Feral cats are random bred and the gene pool is far wide than for pedigree cats. Genetically they are healthy.

Also a person doing TNR is not contributing to the problem but single handedly solving the problem in the area where they live. But is it too much for an individual? And do these good people succeed in trapping and neutering all the cats in the colony? Isn’t that too much to ask? Isn’t it a never ending process, too large a problem? Do they need help?

We should dismiss Meghan Lodge’s article out of hand but we should ask why does the burden of dealing with feral cats so often fall on the shoulders of a good women? It is nearly always women. They put up with a lot.

This is such a contentious issue in American society. The feral cats and the people who try and help just muddle through. There is no plan A or B or C to deal with feral cats properly. Where is the strategy?

The only way to deal with them properly is (a) to operate TNR which includes feeding and these programs should be extended and publicly funded and organized and (b) steps taken to prevent or slow down the creation of unwanted cats that become feral – education comes to mind. It should be a two-pronged attack on the problem.

It seems to me that it is too much of a burden for some individuals to operate TNR. There are heavy expenses. It takes a lot of time. So, what if a person just feeds ferals? That is very humane but is it sensible? If I saw feral cats – and we never see then in the UK – I’d feed them but would I be able to carry out an effective TNR program.

When I went to Malta to meet Martha Kane, a cat rescuer, she and her husband were battling against the odds to help the cats. They were not, as far as I am aware, trapping and neutering. I still felt she was doing good work. But is she?

There are too many questions. How successful are individuals who do their bit for feral cats? We know that TNR works but is it too hard for an individual to make it work and when it fails is it worse than no TNR because feeding feral and stray cats attracts wildlife and cat haters?

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

16 thoughts on “Poor TNR (trap-neuter-return) is worse than no TNR”

  1. I don’t manage a colony but have fed a stray cat or two. TNR is a great program and ear tipping makes sense especially for females because it prevents them from being subjected to a second, third, etc., surgery only for the vet to find out the deed has already been done. I don’t go for killing stray cats, they just might actually belong to someone and I don’t have the right to put down someone else’s pet. Back to my not managing a colony. In my neighborhood there seems to be only one stray at a time. A new cat doesn’t show up until the first one has been gone for a while. I have had cats show up only to be seen a few times later. Those turn out to have homes. The ones that stick around like Velcro obviously don’t. Those I have taken to a vet, first to see if they were chipped, second to get them fixed. Unfortunately some turned out to be too sick to fix according to the vet and had to be put down. One, a kitten, went to a shelter (kittens are easier to home). Another, who got injured in a cat fight, went to a cat rescue and was eventually adopted. The last one I had fixed and vaccinated so he can’t procreate anymore. Other than the sick FeLV or FIV cats I have never seen any blind or maimed cats around my house because of inbreeding. I don’t have any idea what it’s like to try and manage a colony because if there is one in my area they do a great job of keeping themselves out of sight! As far as leftover cat food the opossums and bluejays seem to know what to do with that.

    1. Hi Arlene. You do good work in helping cats. I love to see that. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      lol lol Dee you are so funny!
      I think there maybe is a tribe of Woody pee pees all with sawdust for a brain ….
      hmmm wonder if I can track them down for a poster 😉

  2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Meghan writes a load of rubbish and I’m sorry for the cats in her care, they are probably declawed and she probably thinks they should be grateful for the privilege of living in her home. As for cats being deformed etc, she is clearly an uneducated idiot who thinks she knows it all.
    TNR does work, no matter if it’s one person or an organisation doing it, each and ever cat TNR is one less breeding and one less to be targeted by bigoted, bitter, cat haters like Woody aka Brad Perth.
    I can’t be bothered to read his tirade above because it will be the same old ignorant and cruel tripe, I’ve better things to do. But one good thing, his stupidity in commenting where no one will even bother to read it and if they do will dismiss it as we have Meghan’s rubbish, has generated another 5 cents towards the end of the month’s donation to CATS charities …oh the sweet irony of that lol lol

    1. Actually, I support TNR. I do NOT support aimlessly feeding of cats without spaying/neutering the cats. I’m unsure how you read my article and gathered that. I’m also quite aware of the fate of any cats that were sent to my local humane society as I volunteer there.

      As for my own cats, they are most certainly not declawed. Any other questions, kindly direct them to my inbox and I’ll answer as I can.

      1. Thanks for commenting Megan. Ruth aka Kattaddorra has strong views and no longer contributes to this website. Her views are a little too strong for many people. Although she is passionate about cat welfare.

        1. Most advocates have strong views and are loudly opinionated, not just Ruth AKA.

          As you well know, I have no problem verbalizing.
          I stand by my previous comment.
          Meghan shows no evidence of the deformities she describes and criticizes the feeding of ferals that haven’t benefited from TNR (yet).

          I don’t see where she has any true field work with TNR. If she did, she would know that it takes time and cats can’t be starved during the process. They have to rely on the caretakers and gaining some trust is a plus.

          It’s very hard work. And, I’m offended that anyone could be so critical.

          And, if she would bother to google, she may find that there ARE steps to TNR spelled out on many reliable sites.

          I implore her to show pictures of cats that she has described as deformed and to detail her expertise with ferals.

          1. Yes, I think cat advocates and especially feral cat advocates have to be loud and passionate because it is an uphill struggle.

      2. Mehgan, I implore you to back up your allegations with photos. I want to see limbless, eyeless, earless ferals.
        Ofcourse, there are kindhearted people who feed feral colonies without the benefit of a TNR program. But, it’s most likely because they live in an uneducated, rednecked-hillbilly area like Georgia, Kentucky, or Texas where they have never heard of TNR. They just drink beer and whoop ass! That’s all they care about.
        Texas is the worst, but Georgia is a close second for ignorance.

  3. Totally ignoring Woody above. I was so angry to read Meghan Lodge’s comments that euthanasia of stray and feral cats is better than feeding them what a horribly selfish, hateful, way to think. So she has decided that the cats in her care have lives worth preserving and yet cats that have nothing and no-one should be killed? Does this mean that cats that are homeless are lesser cats because a human hasn’t chosen to care for them? I have a problem with people who regard a species, such as cats, as “cat” they don’t see individual cats with different personalities but as a whole “cat” so to those people “culling” (which is merely a euphemism for killing) a few dozen cats is neither here nor there because there is still “cat” living, but to those few dozen cats culling is oblivion, the end of their precious lives and anyone who has had any dealings with feral cats will know that they fight, literally, tooth and nail with fear and desperation when trapped because by their instincts they are terrified of losing their lives, miserable though their lives might seem to us it is the life they live and is precious to them. It’s plain that she has wildly exaggerated the condition of the cats she writes about to give more credence to her opinion, Michael is right we should dismiss her article without a second though.
    I don’t know what it’s like in the USA but here in England TNR programmes go on, our local Cats Protection supports several colonies the whereabouts of which are kept secret to protect them from the likes of Brad Perth and Woody, they’re trapped, neutered, examined, treated when necessary and released back, with the landowners permission, to where they came from, but then day after day 365 days a year they are supported with feeding at set times of the day, what a huge responsibility and what dedication the people (like Dee)have who take it on.

  4. But of course there’s a plan B & C & D & E …. etc.

    After cat-lickers have hijacked your lives, homes, properties, and lawmakers (with their usual bullying and death-threats) to get their TNR con-game programs into your area the usual course of action that is spreading across the planet is ….

    1. Wait until these cat-lickers have bankrupted themselves sterilizing all their c-rats (if they even bother to do what they claim, see below).

    2. Cull their TNR colonies by any means possible, stepping up their rate of attrition. (See “hint” below of how to do this so you don’t bring psychopathic cat-lickers into your own lives and turn your own lives into a living hell as well.) After-all, this is how TNR advocates want ALL their cats to die you know, by “attrition” — death by ANY means. Their feel-good term for letting ALL their cats die gruesome inhumane deaths.

    3. Rinse & repeat.

    And here’s exactly why you HAVE TO do this:

    Not long ago I learned that TNR cat-hoarders practice a form of “TNR-On-A-Budget” (my name for it). TNR cat-hoarders who want to keep feeding their cats but can’t afford all that tedious mucking-about and getting them sterilized or vaccinated just trap the cats and clip the cats’ ears themselves. Then release them again right after clipping their ears. Doing their best to hide all evidence of where they keep these colonies and telling few about them. This way the cat if trapped again just gets released right there so the cat-hoarder can continue to dote-over and feed their unsterilized and unvaccinated cats. Plus everyone else who might happen on their secret cat-hoarding locations thinks those cats are sterilized and vaccinated so they have fewer concerns about them still overbreeding or spreading deadly diseases. The TNR cat-hoarder feeder just tells them, “Oh, don’t worry. See that clipped ear? They are sterilized and vaccinated. Perfectly fine and legal!”

    Thanks to these “TNR-On-A-Budget” psychotics, clipped-eared cats must be trapped and euthanized or destroyed on-site — the only affordable and sane solution for everyone.

    If you doubt what I claim about TNR-cat-hoarding addicts practicing “TNR-On-A-Budget”, then perhaps you might enjoy this post I found to again prove everything I say is 100% true. They don’t talk about this practice too openly, just like they like to hide their cat-hoarders’ colonies and how they attempt to do so (also revealed in the thread this post was taken from, verifiable link below).

    “Chris Cook

    We had a culling of the neighborhood cats 2 years ago when there were only 10 or so (I lost 4 under my care in the same week). Now there’s over 25 – that I know about (about half fixed)… it’s just a matter of time before someone decides they have the ‘solution’ to the cat ‘problem’. All I can do is get them tipped (in case Animal Services gets them, there’s a small chance they’ll release them back to the area they caught them) and hope for the best by making my own yard a hidden sanctuary of sorts. At least my HOA knows I’m TNRing them and not just feeding them so they (for now) look the other way while slamming the feeders-and-breeders who contributed to the problem getting out of hand and refusing any and all offers of assistance.”

    from: facebook D0T com SLASH permalink D0T php?story_fbid=295067530554567&id=110911218963121

    Not only is this criminally irresponsible TNR practitioner hoarding and feeding unsterilized cats, they even attracted MORE cats to keep reproducing — which again disproves their oft-spewed “vacuum effect” LIE. While also lying to their HOA to boot. They even believe that what they are doing _is_ TNR, that’s just how demented these people are. I’d say this person reflects the norm rather than the exception, since TNR advocates relentlessly lie about so much and so often.

    Hint: for those permanently solving cat-hoarder’s ILLEGAL TNR invasive-species colonies by stepping up their rate of “attrition” (i.e. death by any means necessary); look around for any game/field/trail-cameras that might be hidden from immediate view, then collect them as a souvenir and payment for your well-deserved efforts. As we all know, the only thing worse than having a feral cat colony around, is drawing TNR psychotics right to your home.

    1. Bullshit. You lie. Again. No they don’t just go clipping feral cat’s ears (I’d love to see somebody try and do this at home) and even if you managed to find one or two little examples of this it has nothing to do with the mainstream reality.

      Sorry Wood. You just go too far with your paintbrush and end up with a picture that is far beyond anything real. I suspect you find a drop of truth and extrapolate it accordingly to end up with your world view.

  5. So much for being better rested. Here it is…

    There are a lot of facets to this.

    I read Meghans’s article as well as all the comments written. There’s very little left to say that wasn’t already written in the comments. She was slammed to the pavement. I don’t like it when people write as if they are authorities on a subject without providing evidence of a wealth of experience to back up their statements. She is ignorant and passing on misinformation to readers.

    I wish she would have posted pics of the deformities she described. She couldn’t, ofcourse, because they only exist in her deluded mind. She condemns people who feed ferals and are not able to fully TNR, saying that they contributing to a problem instead of being part of a solution. Nowhere, does she describe what she has done toward a solution except to applaud that a woman’s colony was wiped out by animal control and to applaud the fact that another woman’s mama cat and kittens were taken to a shelter to be “rehomed”. There’s no doubt in my mind that she doesn’t know what REALLY happened to those cats.

    TNR is very hard. I know people who are just doing the best they can with the resources they have, Nothing is perfect; but, they can’t justify having them all killed because they can’t do “top notch”. I think that, in many ways, rescue groups are failing to help people. They don’t make enough information known about how a caretaker can go about getting assistance. These people have the avenues that caretakers need to get low cost spay/neutering, vaccines, traps, even food. People just don’t know because it’s not being put out there.
    Most rescue groups survive on donations, so I’m not saying that they should foot any bills. However, they have the clout to negotiate deals with vets, etc. for individuals who need it.

  6. Oh Lord!
    My feathers are ruffled now and I’m on my haunches, claws out..
    I’m certain to have many things to say, probably, tomorrow when I’m better rested.

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