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cats. Communities which involve TNR as part of their overall cat management plan tend to see a decline in shelter intake over time. For shelters that can’t afford
to sterilize cats in-house, cooperations with local TNR groups and private practitioners can be used to transfer cats off-site for surgery.
While programs in the US are frequently cited for
their success, the Hong Kong SPCA is an example
of a successful TNR program in Asia. The HK SPCA’s successful Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP) has TNR’ed over 45,000 cats since 2000. Also since 2000, the HK SPCA has also continually lobbied the local government to introduce TNR for dogs, so that the numbers of free roaming, unowned dogs, especially in Hong Kong’s New Territories, can be humanely reduced.
What about relocation or sanctuaries?
While relocation may seem like a cost-effective option, it tends to create a vacuum in the community for new cats to move in. Cats typically live in a particular area because of a food source. If the food source is still available, removing cats will have little to no effect on the overall population as new cats will simply move in. Furthermore, relocation to an unfamiliar area causes cats stress and suffering; many will simply not be able to survive in a different area. Similarly, cat sanctuaries fail to address the community cat population. There will never be enough sanctuaries to accommodate every cat in the community.
Sterilization requires a signi cant budget and multiple stakeholders are required to secure adequate resources. Note that TNR programs can be cost-saving initiatives over time however as they decrease euthanasia and sheltering costs. Grant-giving agencies are frequently interested in interested in helping fund collaborative programs involving both private organizations and municipal agencies. Most grants are designed to sterilize a substantial percentage of free-roaming cats in a speci c target area. By sterilizing most of the cats in
an area, reproduction is greatly reduced and the cats’ population gradually declines. Private veterinarians may be willing to offer discounts for surgical services.
Additional resources
Alley Cat Allies -
Feral Cat Project -
Million Cat Challenge -
1. Levy JL. and Crawford PC. Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2004; 225(9): 1354–1360.
2. Wallace JL, and Levy JK. Population characteristics of feral cats admitted to seven trap-neuter- return programs in the United States. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 2006; 8: 279–284.
3. Taking a broader view of cats in the community [Internet]. Animal Sheltering. September/October 2008 [cited 3 May 2017]. Available from http://www. view_of_cats.pdf.
4. Levy JK., Gale DW, and Gale LA. Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap- neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2003; 222(1): 42-46.
5. Pet overpopulation facts [Internet]. HSUS. [cited 1 May 2017]. Available from pet_ownership_statistics. html.
An Urban Experience

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