TNR Reality Check

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Are you confused? You should be!

Below is information that shows the contradictory nature of statements made by many TNR advocates. They include responses to a variety of typical comments.

TNR supporters state that feral cats do not hunt as much as folks think they do, especially if they are well-fed, and that birds often escape unharmed. YET, according to them, feral cats are excellent for rodent abatement. Click here for more information.

TNR supporters state that altered colony cats will prevent new cats from joining existing colonies. YET, cats get abandoned at these colonies regularly and an important part of attempting to keep the colonies stabilized is monitoring them for newcomers!

TNR supporters state that we cannot Trap and Remove cats because new ones will move into the area. YET, for some reason this does not happen in ten years if and when a colony is eliminated? TNR is based on perpetual colony maintenance.

TNR supporters state that trying to tame a feral cat is no different than trying to tame a bobcat. They state that feral cats are not unlike wild animals and ferals are not suitable pets. YET, we need to sustain them by providing food because they are dependent upon humans for survival.

TNR supporters state that cats were the last animals to be domesticated by humans and that there is still controversy as to whether cats are truly domesticated. YET, in a 1992 article from Shelter Sense by R. Donald titled Should Feral Cats Be Euthanized? there is the following:

In her book, Maverick Cats, Ellen Perry Berkeley quotes Roy Robinson, a specialist in cat genetics, who explains how we have domesticated the cat over thousands of years and why the cat has become dependent on humans. First, he points out, cats retain juvenile characteristics that encourage dependency into adulthood. Second, they have a reduced adrenal response that requires them to be protected. Third, cats have undergone a reduction in brain size. "These changes are the changes of many generations and are not undone overnight," Berkeley says. "We may say that the feral cat has 'gone wild' or 'returned to the wild,' but this is not the same as being a wild animal."

TNR supporters state that we do not live on islands so we do not need to be concerned about cat predation on native wildlife. YET, in typical suburbia "habitat islands" surround us. This mimics what happens on island ecosystems. In suburbs and some urban areas, there are pieces of isolated and fragmented habitat. As native wild animals lose these pieces of habitat, they become further strained; and, the presence of any free-roaming cats simply compromises wild animals' chances for survival even more.

TNR supporters state (as a comparison to cats that hunt) that people hunt without permission all the time but we cannot trap and remove them! YET, people are prosecuted when they break laws and are held accountable for their actions. The cats are certainly not to blame - those who further degrade habitat by releasing and sustaining non-native, invasive predators are. Furthermore, when native wild animal populations rise because of a lack of natural predators, animals are managed by removing them, usually by lethal means. Feral cats, an invasive and overpopulated species, should also be removed (humanely) and then socialized for adoption, given sanctuary or euthanized.

TNR supporters state that we all have risks and therefore we should not remove and euthanize feral cats just because they risk injury, illness and tragic death. YET, humans have the capacity, unlike cats, to make informed choices through rational thought and decision-making tools. Cats are advanced in many ways, but are dependent upon humans for their survival. The reality is that humans have dominion over these animals. We domesticated them thousands of years ago and since then have become the decision-makers for them. Whether we make responsible decisions for them or not is another story.

TNR supporters state many reasons why TNR is effective and humane (often based on opinion or emotion rather than grounded in science or common sense). YET, when asked to research and refute reputable studies and information that indicates otherwise, they have no more to say. Could this be because folks fear the possibility that they will be forced to come to the conclusion that what they have been doing is not, in fact, in the best interest of feral cats, the environment or public health? Regardless, the unwillingness to do a little homework results in a loss of credibility and no argument for TNR. TNR advocates should research all aspects of this issue from different points of view. If they still intend on practicing TNR after doing so, then at least they know the consequences of their actions.

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