Would you ever dream of abandoning your cats on the streets to fend for themselves? No? Good, because it’s illegal in most areas (and for good reason). Yet that’s exactly what advocates of trap- neuter-release (TNR) are proposing when they recommend trapping homeless cats, sterilizing them, and re-abandoning them.
TNR is increasingly being embraced by animal shelters under pressure from so-called “no-kill” proponents in an effort to make shelter “saved” statistics look better. But are the cats who are abandoned on the streets actually “saved”?
No, they aren’t—not by a long shot.
The average life span of a cat who lives outdoors is just 1 to 5 years, compared to 12 to 20 years for a cat who lives indoors. Instead of being adopted into loving homes or painlessly euthanized, abandoned cats suffer terribly and often die slowly from deadly contagious diseases, painful injuries, parasite infestations, dehydration, exposure, attacks by predators (including cruel people), and more.
Moreover, not all TNR cats are “feral”—many are quite tame. Not only are such cats adoptable, they may also be someone’s lost companion. Refusing to admit these cats to shelters means that they lose their chance at finding a loving home or being reclaimed by their guardians.
TNR also wreaks havoc on wildlife, including endangered animals, reptiles, and birds. Feral cats (who are not native and do not fit into the predator-prey ecosystem) maim and kill countless native birds and other small animals who aren’t equipped to deal with the large concentration of predators in a feral cat colony. One study estimates that free-roaming cats kill up to 24.4 billion wild animals and birds every year and are by far the biggest source of human-caused mortality for birds.
What You Can Do
TNR is a death sentence intended to make humans feel better, not cats. Instead of re-abandoning cats, we must fight feline homelessness at the root by requiring that all cats be spayed and neutered and kept indoors. If your local shelter is considering adopting a policy that sterilizes and abandons cats and/or refuses to admit them, remind shelter officials that it is their duty above all else to protect cats. Please, spread the word about the dangers of TNR by sharing this video on social media.