The purpose of the TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) program is to help maintain and control the population of the stray pet and feral cats in the city (also called community cats). A feral cat is an untamed domestic cat without an owner. A stray pet cat is tame but frightened whose owner is unknown. “Community” cats are found on city streets, alleys and public spaces. This program is an alternative to having to euthanize these animals and to cut down on the number of strays in a city.
The program works by locating an area where a colony of feral cats has been identified. Normally in the City of Windcrest, these areas are where citizens are feeding the colonies of cats. The City of Windcrest has been divided into six (6) different zones that are monitored by the City’s Animal Control Officer (ACO) with the help of citizens who have volunteered as Registered Caregivers to assist in the program. The ACO also receives information from other concerned citizens who see a group of cats within an area in the city. Since May of 2009, the ACO and TNR volunteers have identified several colonies and have been working to get to all of the colonies of community cats around the City.
Once an area has been identified, the ACO will set out baited traps in an attempt to capture the cats. The cats are not harmed in any manner during the trapping process. Once the cat has been captured, it is taken to a facility or a Veterinarians Office where it is sterilized (spayed or neutered) given a rabies vaccination and the tip of the left ear is clipped. The purpose of the ear tipping is so that the cat can be identified as already being trapped and sterilized. Since so many cats look the same, this process is necessary to assure that the same cat is not trapped again. Or if caught, a cat with ear tipping would be released, as they have already been processed.
Once the cat has been sterilized, it will be monitored up to 24 hours by the ACO or a TNR volunteer to assure that the cat is recovering well from the surgery. Once the cat is ready for release, the cat will be transported back to where it was captured and then released. If the cat is able to be adopted then, whenever possible, it will be taken to an animal care facility and placed for adoption.
TNR programs, like this one in Windcrest, have proven to be vital to many cities worldwide by cutting down on the over population of feral and stray cats. The colonies are no longer able to produce off-spring, so the colony will not grow in great numbers. It also prevents other stray or feral cats from coming into an area that is already colonized. Healthy cat colonies also assist in keeping the rodent and insect populations down.
Should anyone have any questions or concerns about the program or want to volunteer, please contact the Animal Control Officer by calling the Windcrest Police Department at (210) 655-2666.
The Animal Control Officer would like to thank the Citizens of Windcrest who have volunteered to participate in this program, without their assistance this program would not be successful.