Feral Cats

Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Return Program

The Dog & Cat Shelter has the only feral cat TNR program in the state. Part of Spay Wyoming’s goal is to encourage development of TNR programs in other parts of the state.

Feral cats are wild, unsocialized cats that are not socialized to humans and could never have a loving relationship with a human. Either they have grown up wild, with little or no human contact, or they are strays that have reverted to a wild state. All it takes is a couple of lost or abandoned unaltered cats, and a feral cat colony has begun. Unfortunately, many people still fail to neuter their pets and then abandon them when they move, either leaving them behind or dumping them in the country. A female cat can become pregnant by the time she is five months old, and she can have 2 – 3 litters a year. As her offspring also start breeding, the population grows quickly. TNR was designed as a humane means to stop feral cat colonies from continuing to reproduce by humanely trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them back into their home territories.

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TNR is truly a cooperative effort. The Shelter coordinates the program by working with people who have feral colonies on their properties and with the veterinarians who will spay or neuter the cats. Colony mangers pledge that the cats may remain on their property and that they will provide food and shelter for them. We loan traps and make appointments with participating veterinarians. Thanks to grants from the Summerlee Foundation and PETCO Foundation, and local donors, the cats are spayed or neutered, given rabies and FVRCP vaccinations, and treated for internal and external parasites. Their left ears are tipped to show that all this has been done.

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Colony managers need a temperature-controlled area to hold the cats while they’re in the traps, both before and after surgery. The managers call the Shelter when they trap a cat. We make the appointment with the vet, then call the managers and tell them where to take the cat. We do our best to get the cats to the veterinarian the day after they’re trapped. After surgery, the female cats must remain in the trap for 48 hours and males for 24 hours, to make sure none have any complications before they’re released. The responsibilities of the colony managers include: calling the Shelter after trapping a cat; delivering the cat to the designated veterinarian and picking it up the same evening; and feeding, watering and changing bedding for cats during the days spent in the traps.

We urge people not to leave their cats or dump them in the country when they move. Most feral cat colonies begin when unspayed and unneutered cats are abandoned by their owners. If you can’t take your pets with you when you move, please allow yourself enough time before the move to either find homes for your pets or to put them on your local shelter’s waiting list and give the shelter time to make room for them. Don’t dump them or leave them where you lived. They are domesticated animals that depend on their owners for food and care, and most do not survive if left to fend for themselves. They deserve better from the humans that they have trusted.

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Donations for feral cat TNR are gratefully accepted.