It’s 4 am, I’m cold and awkwardly crouched in my neighborhood with my trap, a blanket, and some KFC Chicken. What am I doing? I am TNRing (trap, neuter and releasing) cats.
A couple of years ago I would have laughed at the thought of myself basically looking sketchy just to trap some cats–or would have shaken my head laughing, but I do this not only because I want to, but because I need to. I know trapping and neutering cats can improve their quality of life through receiving important vaccinations like I do for my own cats but also stops the overabundance of kittens in West Philadelphia and beyond.
I currently work alone–unless you count my boyfriend for moral support, but have found a system of being able to complete my trapping with ease which comes down to research of the available resources such as free neuter vouchers, where to take the cats that is within a reasonable distance of my house and when the cats like to eat. All this knowledge together has helped turn me from a scared TNR newbie to someone who can TNR without panicking–too much.
What would my neighborhood look like without TNR efforts? Well, I have a mix of males and females so my neighborhood would be a lot more abundant with little fluff balls running around and my world would come collapsing down as I watch ever car drive into my complex and hope and pray a kitten doesn’t get hit. I’d also have to cope with the reality of finding a kitten or two that didn’t make it due to a cold snap, illness or other reasons. Is this a fair death to a kitten? No, so my job is to ensure this does not happen by neutering the parents–which also leads to myself sleeping better at night.
If you are like me and love cats you can see the importance of TNR for both the neighborhood and your own peace of mind. You may think just feeding your neighborhood cats is enough and at one point I did too, but having become more aware of the livelihoods of city kitties, I now know feeding is only a percentage of what you can do to help a feral cat, but TNR makes up a majority of the help it needs to survive and thrive without the introduction of even more cats.
Currently, Project MEOW is in need of trappers, both experienced and inexperienced (we love training new trappers), so please feel free to contact Project MEOW if you are interested in being a volunteer, foster for our cats or want to help your community cats in the area.
Now for myself, I will wrap up this blog and go back to bed knowing I won’t need to wake up at 4 a.m. because my neighborhood kitties are neutered, vaccinated and happy. Goodnight.