Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grant funds TNR for Trenton's street cats

The headline included a startling number: “14,000 stray cats.” That’s how many feral, stray, wild and street cats – none of those terms defined, BTW, though they’re seemingly used interchangeably – live in Trenton.

These are the cats without homes, regular meals or veterinary care who still somehow survive in the city.

Now, according to today’s Trenton Times story, an organization trying to control cat colonies and cut down on cat euthanasia as a solution is working with the Trenton Animal Shelter to trap, neuter and release cats.

Thanks to a grant of $10,000 from PetSmart, Trenton Trap, Neuter, Release can offer reduced prices for neutering cats -- $15 for a street cat and $35 for a pet cat. Once neutered, cats are returned to where they had been. Over time, their colonies get smaller as reproduction stops.

The organization is headed by Sandra Obi, a Trenton resident who started TNR on her own block when she moved to town six years ago. She’s also affiliated with Project TNR of the Animal Protection League of NJ (www.APLNJ.org).

The sequence goes like this: Once a week, with some of its 70 volunteers, Trenton TNR rounds up “feral stray and street cats for health screenings and immunizations. The cats are also spayed or neutered.”

Once the cats are returned to their original areas, residents serve as their caregivers. They check for new cats and have newcomers vaccinated and fixed.

“It costs animal control between $100 and $120 per animal to capture and euthanize a cat,” Obi said. So not only is TNR a humane way to deal with this problem that humans have caused, but it’s also cheaper.

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