Community Cats: Combatting Overpopulation Through TNRM

In 2020, SICSA provided 2,855 preventative spay and neuter procedures to our community. While many of these pets come from loving homes within the Greater Dayton area, others were brought in by good samaritans, hoping to help the outdoor cats that live amongst their neighborhoods. These are what we refer to as “Community Cats”.

Community Cats do not have an “owner”. They may be feral or friendly, and could have several people who care for them in some way (providing food, water and even shelter during inclement weather). Community Cats are often not adoption candidates because they would not prefer to live 100% indoors. They enjoy the freedom they have in the neighborhoods in which they have been living. They have established a network, a defined territory, and access to the basic necessities to survive. Given their free-roaming nature, they can also become pregnant more easily, thus adding to the issue of overpopulation, and cat homelessness.

Given their resistance to indoor living, and desire to continue living within their defined territory, SICSA finds that the most humane way to combat the issues community cats face is through TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Return, Monitor). With the help of Community Cat Capitans, SICSA seeks to spay and neuter these unique cats, and return them to the terriroty with which they are familiar. After this, these captains can continue to monitor the cats in their given area, and ensure their continued wellbeing alongside SICSA. Beyond population control, the spaying and neutering of these Community Cats allows them to avoid many of the medical complications that come with being unaltered, or giving birth without proper medical care.

In one neighborhood in Washington Township, a community was facing a rather large colony of Community Cats. At one point, one well-intentioned neighbor was attempting to single-handedly feed and shelter roughly 50 cats. When another concerned community member reached out to SICSA, our Help Center Manager Lisa Miller, and volunteer Shelly Davis, went into the community to begin TNRM efforts. On their first outing, they humanely trapped 15 cats! They continued returning to the neighborhood and trapping cats until they ran out of traps. The neighbors began rallying around their Community Cat colony and took on the responsibility of limiting the growth and expansion. They began trapping themselves and bringing in the cats for spay and neuter procedures. They even raised the funds for the procedures themselves! Now this colony is well-monitored and maintained as a number of neighbors have stepped up to ensure the safety, health, and limitation of their colony of Community Cats.

While this is just one success story for our Community Cats program, the impact of spaying and neutering such a large colony will make a world of difference. If those 50 cats had all been left unaltered, the rate of growth for that colony could have been exponential, quickly turning into a crisis. Neighborhoods like this one taking control of their Community Cats allows both the people and the animals in the area to continue a happy, healthy, and safe coexistence. Spaying and neutering cats through the Community Cat program using TNRM has prevented dozens of cats from giving birth to homeless litters, developing preventable medical complications, and growing in colony size beyond what is managable for a given community. The impact of these procedures is invaluable, and the community’s role in making them possible is deeply appreciated.

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