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Improving feral cat management is focus of new book

Members of a feral cat colony eat breakfast.
Members of a feral cat colony eat breakfast.
Marc Selinger

A new book reveals how to make trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs more effective at reducing feral cat populations.

The 148-page guide, published by PetSmart Charities, describes three relatively new TNR tactics: targeting, return to field and grassroots mobilization.

Targeting involves concentrating TNR resources, such as surgeries, personnel and marketing, on an entire neighborhood or zip code instead of just sterilizing individual groups or colonies. "Targeting parts of the community and not only colonies increases the pace of population reduction," the book explains.

Return to field means unadoptable cats brought to shelters are neutered and returned to their outdoor environment instead of being put down. As a result, “euthanasia rates drop, sometimes dramatically, and the local culture, both inside and outside the shelter, may be transformed in a positive way,” the book says.

Grassroots mobilization provides training, equipment, support and low-cost surgeries. According to the book, such services “build awareness and support for TNR programs and help achieve gradual population reduction."

Written by Bryan Kortis, a community cats program manager at PetSmart Charities, the book notes that TNR has become increasingly popular in recent years as a more humane and effective alternative to the traditional animal-control practice of “trap and kill.” TNR’s benefits include fewer unwanted cats and a decrease in fighting and other “nuisance” behaviors associated with unaltered cats.

A free download of the book, "Community TNR: Tactics and Tools," is available here. Print copies are sold here for $18.99.

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