Trap-Neuter-Return is the only effective and humane way to stabilize feral cat populations. Cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian, where they are neutered and vaccinated. Kittens and socialized cats (cats who are friendly to people) are placed into loving homes. Healthy, adult feral cats (cats who are wary of human contact) are returned to their colony site, where they are often provided continuing care by Caregivers.
Caregivers are volunteers in our community (either an individual or group) who take on the responsibility of the care, feeding, and health of the feral cats. Caregivers must register with an appropriately-permitted Sponsor.
Sponsors oversee the activity of the Feral Cat Colony Caregivers. Texas Coalition for Animal Protection (TCAP) is the City's first TNR Sponsor. Click hereto view their website.
The Vacuum Effect
Animal control's traditional approach to feral cats-catch and kill-won't keep an area free of cats for long. Catch and kill creates a vacuum, as do attempts to "relocate" cats. Once the cats are removed from a territory , other cats move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and breed, forming a new colony. Known as the vacuum effect, this is a documented phenomenon in a variety of animals throughout the world. Catch and kill is an endless and costly cycle.
What is a Feral Cat?
So, you're seeing cats in your yard...
Like all animals, feral cats make their home where they find shelter and food, often in close proximity to people. We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yards, and the simple tips provided on the Easy Solutions to Cat Behaviors webpage will help you divert outdoor cats away from certain areas. You may also want the cats to stick around; some ideas provided will help make areas attractive to the cats. Coupled with Trap-Neuter-Return and ongoing care, these steps can help you coexist with your neighborhood cats!
Because feral cats are not socialized and not adoptable, they do not belong in animal pounds or shelters, where virtually 100% of them are killed. Instead, feral cats should be neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home.
Feral cats, also called community cats, are members of the domestic cat species just like pet cats, but are not socialized to people and are therefore not adoptable. Cats have been living outdoors near us for more than 10,000 years. They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their colony members.