The O'Malley Alley Cat Organization(TOMACO) - Colonies of People Helping Colonies of Cats

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Trap - Neuter - Return - Manage

What does T~N~R~M stand for? Trap ~ Neuter ~ Return ~ Manage.

What is a Feral Cat? A feral cat is either a cat who has lived his whole life with little or no human contact and is not and probably cannot be socialized; a stray cat who was lost or abandoned and has lived away from humans long enough to revert to a wild state.

Where are Feral Cats Found? Feral cats are found in every community in every country. When unsterilized housecats are abandoned or lost, they and their offspring band together in groups called colonies. Without human contact, the colonies become feral (wild). They make homes wherever there is a source of food-in alleys, parks, military bases, farmyards, barns, college campuses, back yards, parking lots, and deserted buildings. Kittens learn to avoid humans and to defend themselves. Their numbers steadily increase, even if meager scraps are all the food to be had. Feral colonies are all too frequently rounded up and because they have had little or no human contact and are thus unadoptable, they are killed.

How does Trap~Neuter~Return~Manage work? Trap~Neuter~Return~Manage is the comprehensive management plan where entire Feral colonies are humanely trapped, vaccinated, and neutered by compassionate veterinarians. Adoptable kittens and cats are placed in good homes. Feral adult cats are returned and "managed". They will live out their lives under the watchful care of sympathetic neighborhood volunteers. Feral cats left ear is ear-tipped. This is the international sign that a cat neutered and vaccinated and in a managed colony. Trap~Neuter~Return~Manage has not only prevented millions of feline births, but also extended and improved the lives of countless cats who otherwise would have been killed.

Why not take them to the Animal Shelters? Feral cats are KILLED in Shelters because they do not fit into a shelter's objectives. Shelters strive to find homes for adoptable animals-that is companion animals that are lost, stray or abandoned. Feral Cats are not stray cats. They are wild and are never candidates for adoption. Whether it is immediately or after a holding period, feral cats are killed in shelters. In 2012, Nacogdoches Animal Services euthanized over 3,000 animals. Trap~Neuter~Return~Manage can reduce the cat euthanasia rate by 50%, if enough cats are spayed and neutered.

Why go to the trouble of sterilizing, returning, and caring for feral cats? Why not Trap and Kill Feral Cats? If you discount the humane and ethical reasons for not attempting to exterminate large numbers of healthy animals, you are left with one indisputable fact--attempts at extermination are rarely, if ever, successful. We have decades of documented proof, and perhaps centuries of practical knowledge, that campaigns to catch and kill all the cats in a area where they have established their homes does not work. Survivors breed exponentially; outsiders move in to take advantage of whatever food source exists. This is called the "vacuum effect." It is how the cycle of population growth always begins anew. Humanity aside, lets think about local tax dollars. Trap~Neuter~Return~Manage is more cost effective then trapping and killing feral cats. The average cost of sterilization is $65, while the average cost of capture, stray hold, then euthanasia is $105.

Common Myths About Feral Cats.

  • Feral Cats Live short, miserable lives. Feral cats do not experience significantly more or worse medical issues than do house cats. In fact, feral cats may actually be healthier as a population than domestic pet cats. This is because feral kittens develop natural immunity to a variety of illnesses. Spay/neuter further improves cat health by reducing wandering, mating, and fighting. It is also not uncommon for feral cats to live ten or more years--a life span comparable to many domestic cats. And while feral and abandoned cats may face hardships, we don't think death is better than a less-than-perfect life.

  • Feral Cats pose a rabies threat to humans. A vaccinated, sterilized colony of feral cats poses no rabies threat to humans. Raccoons, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers of rabies. Fear of rabies far outweighs any real threat from this disease in the U.S. In the last 12-year period, the CDC reports there were only 36 human deaths from rabies, and at least 7 of those cases originated in other countries. And more importantly, none was acquired by a cat! Compare that to more than 4,100 human cases of West Nile virus, with 277 deaths, in the year 2002 alone.

  • Cat Predation Affects Bird and Wildlife Populations. Every reputable study to date has shown that claims of cat predation affecting bird and wildlife populations are wholly overstated, and that the true causes of population declines are factors such as habitat destruction caused by human development, pollution, pesticides, and drought. Studies written from different continents throughout the world—all showing three very important points: cats are opportunistic feeders, eating what is most easily available; feral cats are scavenger, and many rely on garbage and handouts from people; cats are rodent specialists. Birds make up a small percentage of their diet when they rely solely on hunting for food. And, cats may prey on a population without destroying it. If this were not so, we would no longer have any mice around.

Breeding Facts. A cat can have as many as 500 mates in one year. So much for being finicky! The fact is two breeding cats with all their offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in just six years!

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