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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Considering becoming involved in TNR

I'm considering the possibility of TNR ferals.

When changing Tobys food, I acquired a number of cans/pouches that he simply didnt like so I thought rather than just let them sit in the cupboard I would give them away via 'freecycle' -saying I would be most interested in donating that food to a charity/shelter.

Anyway, someone in my area answered saying he would much appreciate the food as 'bait' as apparently there are a lot of ferals in the area and he is involved in TNR in association with a local cat shelter up the road (the shelter pays for the neutering and any other vet care).

Sadly, there is also a lot of FIV cats in the area which the shelter put to sleep which - as a person with a FIV cat - I have a slight issue with (although of course I realise that if the feral cat cant be domesticated there isnt a choice as you cant just release it again to infect other cats).

But anyway, the long and the short of it is - I am interested in helping our seemingly large feral population (which i wasnt aware of).

So, my questions are
1. what do I need to get started and 2. how do I know if the cat I trap is a feral or not? . I might just have a aggressive tom on my hands who lives in a nice comfy home down the road!

Any comments/advice appreciated.

"FIV != PTS"
"SENIOR KITTIZENS ROCK! (between naps)"

Allie and Ridley

Toby - waiting at the rainbow bridge (2002-2011)
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 07:10 PM
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Melysion, good for you, and thank you for wanting to help these cats! They need every person they can get on their side.

There's a sticky at the top of this page called How to Trap Ferals and More, which will give you much better information than I can. I'm new to TNR myself, and not any kind of expert. But here are a few things you'll definitely need:

1) A humane trap. The brand everyone seems to use in the US is called Havahart. I'm not sure what your shopping options are in the UK, but if you have something like a Home Depot or Lowe's, check the pest control department. (The same traps are also used for raccoons and possums.) You should also be able to find them online.

2) A place to keep the cat. They are extremely hard to handle, so you may want to just leave them in the trap for the whole process, if you can get them into the vet quickly and plan to release them right away. If you need to keep them for awhile, you'll need a carrier or crate that's big enough to keep cat + food + water + litter box in. You'll also need a room, garage, shed, or other place to keep them (while they're in the carrier) that's separate from your housecat(s).

3) Typical cat supplies: old towels or blankets to lay on and use for cover, food/water dishes, litter box, etc. And some litter suitable for post-surgery. My vet recommends a brand called Yesterday's News, which is little pellets made of recycled newspaper.

4) A place to get the cats fixed. If you're also going to be working with a shelter that will do it for free, great! If not, you'll have to find someone who will fix them for a non-bankrupting cost.

As for how to tell if a cat is truly feral, sometimes it takes a few days of observation and interaction. There's a whole continuum of behaviors between "truly feral" and "tame housecat." Most of the ones I've dealt with seem to fall into that gray area, so use your best judgement. But if you aren't rehoming them, and you're getting the surgery for free, I say TNR whomever you can. If they belong to other people, tough! You've still helped society, and they're getting a free service. Even if they're mad, chances are they'll never know it was you.

There are a number of TNR veterans here, and I abuse them regularly by demanding reassurance through every step of the process. I can vouch that everyone is really patient, friendly, and helpful! And if it will help, I can contribute moral support from one newbie to another.

Good luck, and again, good for you!!!
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-30-2007, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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wow, thanks a lot for your reply Jet Green. Your advice is very much appreciated.

I think the first thing I'm going to do is leave out some cat food overnight in a plastic container and see if its eaten. Theres currently a nice fish supper outside for any feral who wants it. I'm also going to contact the shelter the guy was talking about myself and see what they say/provide as support and go from there.

I have a shed to home ferals if need be. they cant come in the house of course because of Toby.

I'll keep you updated!

"FIV != PTS"
"SENIOR KITTIZENS ROCK! (between naps)"

Allie and Ridley

Toby - waiting at the rainbow bridge (2002-2011)
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-30-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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JetGreen told you just about everything needed for TNR. You can go to the feral capital of the world visit www.alleycat.org for info and even video clips. Neighborhoodcats.org is another site to check out.

Thank you for helping the ferals! Sadly alot of people consider them pests and should be removed and killed. But I think those people are not truly animal lovers. Why kill animals when it's human's own ignorance that caused the problem in the first place.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-30-2007, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Amazing. The cat food was out for approximately 20 minutes. The container was completely emptied during that time. Unfortunately i didnt see who ate it but someone obviously had a nice surprise.

I've now put out some dry and wet food - hopefully I'll be able to sneak a look at whoever eats it this time around.

"FIV != PTS"
"SENIOR KITTIZENS ROCK! (between naps)"

Allie and Ridley

Toby - waiting at the rainbow bridge (2002-2011)
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2007, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melysion
I think the first thing I'm going to do is leave out some cat food overnight in a plastic container and see if its eaten.
Quote:
Originally Posted by melysion
Amazing. The cat food was out for approximately 20 minutes. The container was completely emptied during that time.
Yeah, that sounds familiar! I keep swearing I'm going to rig up a web cam so I can actually see who's eating.

Please keep us posted on your efforts!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2007, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it.

I'm putting more food out tonight (note to self: buy a few tins of supermarket cat food!) and will be keeping a closer eye on whats going on in the garden. hopefully this time, I'll catch my little muncher in the act (which - knowing my luck will not be a cat at all - but a hedgehog or fox. )

"FIV != PTS"
"SENIOR KITTIZENS ROCK! (between naps)"

Allie and Ridley

Toby - waiting at the rainbow bridge (2002-2011)
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2007, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wow ...

It is a cat! Or at least it was tonight. A tiny little tortieshell. Very young looking cat - if its fully grown then its a very small fully grown - looks like a 'teen' to me. No collar on and she looked very skittish when eating - kept looking around, was very nervous looking. Looked like she couldn't believe her luck! I didnt dare open my back door because she was enjoying her food and I didn't want to frighten her.

Toby saw her too - did his tail swish He was probably thinking "****, what is she doing eating one of my chicken dinners? ".

What do I do? Place some food out at the same time each night and see what happens?

"FIV != PTS"
"SENIOR KITTIZENS ROCK! (between naps)"

Allie and Ridley

Toby - waiting at the rainbow bridge (2002-2011)
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2007, 02:17 AM
 
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Most of the folks at our shelter who do TNR like to establish a feeding time and place. It makes the whole process more efficient so they can better use the spare time they put towards the trapping. This little cat will learn to come at a certain time if you keep the feeding cosistent. With food so scarce ferals rarely waste an opportunity to eat.

One important thing to remember when you start trapping. Once a cat is in the trap make sure to cover it completely with a large towel or sheet. This seems to calm the cats considerably. I've had some ferals bang inside the trap so violently they've done themselves harm, such as scrapes and minor lacerations to the head and face. Fortunately, they always settle at some point but it is very stressful for both the cat and the human! I also made sure they were covered while in the recovery cages. It's just one small thing that can make a world of difference.

Thank you so much for considering TNR. It works!



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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2007, 12:27 PM
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Agree that it's a good idea to leave food out regularly, so that they'll be used to eating there, and less suspicious when a trap suddenly appears.

I usually put food out in three different parts of the yard every night. The local cats get in some vicious fights -- I find regular bloodstains on the porch -- so I like to give them a wide berth around each other. Also, that way you might be able to trap a cat on one side of the house without the other cats seeing it and getting wise.

Some people recommend leaving the trap out with food in it, but not set it to go off, so the cats will get used to going inside to eat. But I'm not really sure what purpose that serves, because you only need a cat to walk into it one time. And even if Cat #1 is used to eating freely inside the trap, once he sees Cat #2 get stuck, isn't he going to avoid it thereafter anyway? Does anybody here use this technique?
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