Realty of TNR: B4TC
HIYA!! SAVANNAH HERE!!!
This blog post is dedicated to all the humans who are making TNR happen in the USA. This is the best ever PAW IT FORWARD PROJECT EVER!!
Mom Linda is taking over the post for today…it is her story to tell…as our contribution to Be The Change 4 Animals movement.
Hello All…I have just learned that TNR is not at all for the feint of heart; one must be ready to see beautiful vibrant cats,young and old, being spayed and neutered and then released back into the outdoor world where they live, often never to be seen nor touched again by any human before they die alone, sometimes in pain…cats living a feral life are very low on the food chain in the out of doors…victims to unleashed dog attacks, cars, cruel humans, wild animals…
But…TNR is the best most effective strategy in the USA with any hope of dramatically diminishing the increasing number of feral cats. This is my personal belief, others will disagree, but I was simply humbled to take part in a TNR clinic this past Sunday.
The SNIP (spay, neuter impact program) Clinic for Contra Costa County has been operating since 2006…visit their web site to view some great photos
This clinic is held on site at our largest county shelter. They open their surgery on a Sunday four times a year and vets, vet techs, and people young and old volunteer to make it happen. Perhaps the true heroes of the day are the people who are committed to trapping the feral cats. One requirement of the clinic is that all cats must arrive and depart inside their traps…some have been in the traps since Thursday or Friday…fed, papers kept clean, etc. Trapping a feral cat is not something one can ‘plan’ based on precise scheduling so many trappers get them as close to the clinic date as possible and then care for them until they can present them for TNR.
I was asked by the managing Vet to limit where I took photos so as to not show the cats in surgery or other states where my readers might perceive the cats are treated without respect. I agreed, but nothing can be less true about how these feral cats were treated from the moment they arrived (I worked check in for 3 hours) to their recovery in our ICU area (I worked this for 4 hours). We work quietly so as not to disturb the cats coming out of their anesthesia and recognizing that most have never been handled by humans before today and are terrified of our voices.
(please hover to view captions, click to view the complete caption)
…before the cats are brought in to await their turn in surgery
After check in and they are waiting…
They then go back to receive their first injection to begin the anesthesia administration process…at this time they can be weighed as they are now asleep…
The surgery where females will be spayed…males do not need the full surgery theater as their procedure is much less intrusive.
After their procedure, they are taken to recovery where we closely monitor them. Those who have temps lower than 97 degrees are quickly taken to a heating station to give them extra warmth. All the traps are placed on heating pads to make them comfortable as they recover. We check them every 10-20 minutes for “Heads and Ears Up” movement…then we know they are coming around successfully.
Now I have a whole new perspective on what TNR really looks like, feels like and how it is one of the only strategies to truly reduce the growing numbers of unwanted cats in the USA.
We desperately need more low cost, high volume, preferable free, spay and neuter clinics if we are ever to reduce the numbers of dogs and cats killed in public shelters. Someone told me that an estimated 180,000 feral cats live in Contra Costa County, the majority in the east county where the population is less dense and the ability to dump a cat much easier.
Can YOU volunteer and Be The Change For Animals in your community by helping with your local TNR efforts? You do not have to trap cats…but you can help manage the clinic operation on days like our SNIP Clinic.
This day I will not soon forget. I wanted to touch every cat I saw once they were asleep…so beautiful, many so thin, so young…ferals do not often live more 4-5 years…so few were very old. Many very young females were pregnant already…we were able to abort and spay. I will be back to help SNIP in October.
Be The Change For Animals
Paw Pats, Mom Linda