Are you feeding unfixed neighborhood cats?
We may be able to help!
Tell us about your cats
Are you seeing a lot of cats?
Free-roaming cats, often referred to as “community cats” and, are a common sight in Rochester. Community cats are often a mix of “feral” cats who were never socialized by humans, stray cats who lost their way home and abandoned pet cats. Although some may wander about alone, often these cats coexist as a “colony” and stay in their territory where they share a food source.
Why are there so many cats?
Unspayed female cats can get pregnant as early as 5 months of age. They can have several litters of kittens each year. That’s a lot of kittens. The sad fact is that many of these kittens will die in the harsh outdoor environment. The kittens that do survive will reproduce and the relentless cycle continues.
What’s the solution?
Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR). TNVR is the most humane and effective strategy to stabilize the free-roaming cat population. Cats are humanely trapped, females are spayed/males are neutered, vaccinations are given for rabies and distemper, and the cats are returned to their original environment. The left ear is “tipped” (flattened) during the procedure. An “eartipped” cat is a sterilized (“fixed”) cat. Spay/neuter stops the cycle of reproduction AND prevents the suffering of kittens struggling to survive outdoors. Over time the number of cats decreases. Young kittens are socialized to become pet cats and unowned friendly cats are put up for adoption. When this occurs, there is an immediate reduction in the number of free-roaming cats.
Why will they be returned?
Cats who are not socialized to humans are highly bound to their territory (their “home”), knowing its food source, hiding places, warm spots, and safest routes of travel. When the food source is properly managed by a caretaker who provides daily food and water, the caretaker observes for new cats so these cats can be fixed before they reproduce. Removing cats is not only inhumane, it doesn’t work. New, unfixed cats will be drawn to that same territory, reproduce, and over time the cat population will grow again. This is known as the “vacuum effect”.
What about the cat fights, yowling, smell, and use of my garden as a litter box?
The yowling of female cats in heat and cats mating will stop as the cats can no longer reproduce. A few weeks after male cats are neutered, their testosterone decreases eliminating the odor and very often ending the fighting and spraying. There are many deterrents that can be used to keep cats out of your gardens. See our Resources page.
Are you sure this will work?
With a strategic approach to TNVR, with adequate spay/neuter resources, and with committed colony caretakers, it can work very well. Communities around the world have embraced TNVR as their chosen method to reduce and manage the free-roaming cat population.