I recently wrote to the ASPCA asking for further information on a statement made in one of their articles. Here is the email I sent.
in your article A Closer Look At Community Cats you make the following statement: The ASPCA endorses Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage community cat colonies.
I am researching this topic and would like to know
1. how you define success and
2. what medium to large cities are examples of a TNR program that has successfully reduced a feral population to zero, or near zero.
I have seen a few smaller communities just by googling but am unable to find any larger cities with a large land area and a dispersed human population having a success with TNR alone.
Thank you for your help!
Rather than summarizing I will paste the response in it’s entirety below. The TLDR is they did not answer either of my questions.
Thank you for contacting the ASPCA – America’s first humane organization – regarding Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). We have always encouraged an open dialog and the thoughtful exchange of ideas, and I appreciate you contacting us with your questions and concerns about TNR.
Feral cats are said to have started in the Age of Discovery. Travelers released rabbits onto islands to provide food for other travelers. The population of rabbits was out of control and cats were introduced in order to keep the population of rabbits and mice down. However, cats began to colonize and they were soon seen as pests.
Feral cats are born and raised in the wild often are found in large groups called colonies at times they may travel alone. They live in alleyways, empty lots, condemned buildings and anywhere that they can find food, water and shelter. The average life span is 2 to 5 years, opposed to indoor cats being able to live sometime to 20 years. A female feral spends the majority of their lives pregnant and within 7 years they are capable of having a total of 420,000 kittens.
There are agencies and people that think relocation and/or capturing feral cats will solve the problem. This is not 100% successful and is inhumane. When they are relocated they are not familiar with their new surroundings making it difficult for them to survive. They are unable to find food, water and shelter easily. It is also impossible to catch all the cats. It only takes one male and female to create a new colony.
The ASPCA endorses TNR as the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral colonies. We work closely with Neighborhood Cats and we are a member of NYC Feral Cat Council. We offer spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccinations on our mobile clinic and partner with trained colony caretakers in the five boroughs of New York City.
The ASPCA mobile spay/neuter clinic has private Rescue Day for feral cats. They are by appointment only throughout the five boroughs. You can call 877-SPAY-NYC and hit the TNR option or contact email@example.com to schedule an appointment for your ferals on these private rescue days.
There are requirements in order to use the ASPCA mobile clinic during the Rescue Days. You must take a workshop on How to Manage Feral Cat Colony, taught by Neighborhood Cats. They will cover all steps in setting up a managed colony, including community relations, food and shelter arrangements, securing a recovery space, safe handling feral cats and trapping. A small donation is requested to cover the costs of materials. If interested you can contact Neighborhood Cats at 212-662-5761 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You must also be able to provide a warm dry indoor recovery space. The feral cats must be trapped 2 days before the surgery appointment and must also be held for 3 days after in order to recover. You must also download, sign and return the rescue agreement to:
Manager, ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic
424 East 92nd Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10128
The ASPCA mobile clinic will spay/neuter, rabies vaccinate and ear tip each feral at no cost during Rescue Day. We do not recommend the FeLV/FIV test or the FVRCP vaccine for feral that are being returned to their outdoor colony.
We also rent traps for TNR purposes to people that have taken the Neighborhood Cats workshop. The traps must be picked up and returned to the ASPCA at 424 East 92nd Street in Manhattan, by appointment only. The traps can be kept for up to 7 days. A $50.00 deposit, payable in cash or check only, is required per trap. The deposit is fully refunded upon return of the trap in its original condition. To rent a trap you can contact the Call Center at 877-772-9692
For more information on the ASPCA, you may visit our website. Please contact us again should you require further guidance or assistance.
Thank you for your concern and for being an animal welfare
ASPCA Public Information