Categories: Cat News

The ‘new normal’ caused by COVID-19 may make this the worst kitten season ever for feral cats

With the complications of our ‘new normal’ created by countries and states going into strict quarantine due to COVID-19, many who care for feral cats are worried. One issue is whether a colony caregiver can physically even get to the cats who depend on them. Another is whether caregivers can remain virus-free and alive. Now picture no more TNR services.

How long will TNR clinics remain closed? (Humane Society Greenwood in 2017)

Today I’d like to introduce another MAJOR problem that in the end has the potential to make 2020 the worst ‘kitten season’ ever on record. The worst because the way veterinarians are having to run their practice and this includes trap-neuter-return clinics. All except emergency surgeries are being postponed and the majority of TNR clinics have sent caregivers a notice that they can no longer spay and neuter feral cats for the foreseeable future.

My personal veterinarian sent out an email last week stating that all pet owners would have to call ahead and the veterinarian will come out to the vehicle to perform basic exams and treatment. Should the pet need more thorough care, the cat or dog will be taken inside while the owner waits in the car.

Vet clinics are trying to do their part by donating as many masks as possible to the hospitals that need every mask they can get their hands on. There’s also the ‘social distancing’ way of life that has emerged as our new norm. Some veterinarians now have stated only one person on the staff can be in an exam room. Medications are refilled and taken to the owner’s car and payments made by phone.

This not only knocks feral cats out of the opportunity to be spayed or neutered, it may also affect pet owners who have a less than friendly cat that will most likely panic when their person isn’t allowed inside. So this may also hinder normally tame cats from getting treatment.

Unfortunately, this won’t work with feral cats. Unneutered male cats stink to high heaven even when they’re NOT spraying everything they touch and females may ‘call’ at all hours of the day or night. It’s not like these cats can be kept inside until things go back to normal. Because normal is gone.

I don’t know how to fix this. We’re in for the worst kitten season on record. It’s terrifying when you start doing the math and what will happen when the mid-year litter normally delivered by a feral cat isn’t stopped before it even starts.

Many open intake shelters have closed until they deem it safe for the public to come in and once again adopt a pet. Shelter staff is reaching out to those who must remain at home for weeks (to months) about fostering a dog or a cat. Newborn kittens, even with a mother cat to help, would put too much of a burden on cat lovers who are already stressed.

If shelters aren’t accepting mama cats or kittens, there are going to be a lot of abandoned cats, either pregnant or with kittens. Not to mention those who die during delivery or from hunger, thirst, animals and automobiles.

Anyone with suggestions or who would like to describe veterinary care restrictions in your area, please do so in the comment section below.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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  • This is a fabrication of your own imagination, not based on any facts.

    FACT: TNR has only managed to sterilize less than 1% of cats in any area in any country. People not doing TNR will do nothing to change cat birthrates (based more on climate and food availability). The only thing Covid-19 will do to practicing TNR is deprive practitioners of their psychopathy and psychoses that they are actually accomplishing anything at all with their lives.

    • TNR is gaining traction as the only humane way of controlling feral cat numbers and managing colonies. You always have to insult people don't you? You need to look at yourself and ask why.

      • TNR has been practiced in the UK, the cat-lover capital of the world, for 70 years. Well over half of a century and you only managed to triple your feral cat population by how well TNR works. You even made your ONE AND ONLY native cat species EXTINCT by promoting TNR. TNR has been practiced over 30 years everywhere else because you managed to sell your blatant lies. And still it hasn't made even ONE dent in any cat populations ANYWHERE on earth.

        If that's your idea of "gaining traction" I have a set of bald snow-tires coated in oil that I'd like to sell you for "traction". You'd buy them too if I lied to everyone as well as all of you.

        Just keep lying to yourselves and everyone else on earth, that'll solve it! LOL

        You should run for President of the USA, you lie to and deceive everyone almost as much as Trump does! You'd fit right in!

        • God, you are like a stuck record going round and round bleating the same stuff endlessly. It's boring. You have had your say so please go away and shut up.

  • I live in va. And I do tnr.its hard when gets r closing the door but I have an awesome vet that takes care of my crew and I found that anicira in Harrisonburg is still doing the surgery, but they come out to you to pick up the animals.

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