Being an advocate for anything takes a lot of patience. When you’re speaking for someone who is not in the position or to speak for themselves, you are put into a situation that requires some skill and determination.
This is especially true for US who are advocating on behalf of animals. And if you’re advocating for feral and stray cats, you need some special sort of ammunition.
Carol’s tips to be a better advoCAT for community cats.
1. Know your facts. It’s vital to understand the ins and outs of the TNR process especially when speaking to neighbors, apartment complex management and trailer park owners. It is also important to present the cost involved and convey the benefits of such a program when approaching folks that simply want the cats gone.
Carol’s Ferals will help anyone who wants to do TNR completely and fully. We know that getting just a couple of the easy to grab cats from the colony is NO solution. You must TNR all cats otherwise, others will still breed and you won’t have any end to the overpopulation situation faced.
2. Be able to explain THE VACUUM EFFECT. Simply put, the vacuum effect is what happens when all cats are removed from a location. With nobody to protect the food source, other cats will simply come in and take over. That leads to more cats breeding. But leaving a sterilized managed colony in place ensures that new cats won’t be coming in because cats don’t want to share their food unless they’re getting some kind of bang for their buck sorta speak. Basically, they think like humans. I’m not going to buy you dinner if you’re not going to “put out”. So if the cats are fixed and have no interest in sex, they will fend off any newcomers. And there will surely be fewer tom cats sniffing around if all the girls are fixed and nobody is going into heat every warm month of spring, summer and recent Michigan fall. For an informative PDF to print and distribute about “The Vacuum Effect” click here
3. Understand the viewpoint of your audience. Acting like a crazy cat lady (even though we love you and we all are too) doesn’t help when speaking to people who don’t want cats around. It just makes us look like lunatics. It’s kinda like when people call all animal activists PETA followers. They’re extreme. We need to be firm, but not extreme. When you firstname.lastname@example.org out of your mind, nobody will take you seriously. The truth is that intact free roaming cats ARE indeed a nuisance. They fight and cause all sorts of racket. Mating calls of females and those horrible sounds made during the mating session are horribly irritating. Marking tom cats are stinky and nobody wants to smell cat spray EVER! A large number of cats is problematic because it makes people feel like they’re taking over the neighborhood. So understanding why people don’t like them will go a long way to helping YOU to convince them that the cats are best to stay put.
4. Appease the bird lovers. Cats killing birds is part of their hunting nature. But healthy fed cats will not take out as many birds as would a colony that is not managed, sterilized and fed. While the bird lovers in the area won’t appreciate the cats at all, at least you can sell them on the vacuum effect and let them know that no more new cats will come around if you keep a stable managed colony. Also be sure to educate your neighborhood bird lovers that the plight of songbirds and other bird species is mostly due to pollution, pesticides and urban sprawl, not the neighborhood cats.
5. Keep your promises. When you say you are going to do TNR, do it completely. Don’t let one cat be left behind to breed and breed. Doing this is worse than doing nothing because it shines a negative light on the very effective process of Trap-Neuter-Return. If you fix a bunch of cats and the numbers are still increasing because you neglected to get them all, will surely tick off your neighbors.
6. Be neat about feeding. Don’t leave dirty plates, cans and rubbish around the feeding area. Be sure to pick up after the feeding time because nobody wants to look at a trash dump alongside your house. Also, you want to only feed in daylight hours so that you are not attracting wildlife which is sure to make neighbors and others very unhappy. And it’s not good for the wildlife either. Raccoons and Opossums are better to eat what is in the ecosystem because unlike cats, they belong to the natural ecosystem. Cats were introduced by humans and do not have a place in the ecosystem.
For more information on how to get started on TNR, please fill out a needs assessment form. click here