A few weeks ago, we took in a friendly mama cat and her five babies from a local prison. We also took in a couple of kittens born to a feral mom at the same prison. I asked if we could TNR the feral mom so she would stop having babies. After learning there are about six (which typically means 10-15!) feral/semi-feral cats at the prison, I wanted to find out more.
The inmates like the cats and take care of them. And some of the semi-ferals have bonded with some of the inmates. Unfortunately the cats cannot stay there if not spayed/neutered or vaccinated so several times a year, animal control comes in and traps and euthanizes the cats. However, removal attempts may temporarily reduce the number of feral cats in a given area; however, two things happen: first, the unsterilized survivors continue to breed and, second, other cats move into the now available territory (known as the “vacuum effect”). In communities not practicing TNR, several decades of “catch and kill” has done nothing to reduce the feral cat population – there are more cats than ever.
I made it my mission to see if we could TNR all the cats there. The prison cannot pay for it but money is a bridge we’ll cross later. Well, we have finally received permission to TNR the cats. We can trap the cats, have them spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and return them to the prison. How excited are we? Pretty darn! So now we are raising money to pay for the spay/neuters. We have already received donations to cover the cost of four prison ferals and we will come up with the rest -- this is too big of a win for the cats to let a "little" thing like money stand in our way.
We've put together a flyer explaining what we are doing, as the inmates are very protective of the cats. Our TNR Task Force (including me) will be trapping there just as soon as we finalize the schedule (have to allow for enough manpower as we do have to be escorted by a corrections officer at all times).