Since November 2018, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando has spayed and neutered 2,265 community cats through their targeted Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program.
TNR has been scientifically proven to reduce the number of kittens born in the wild by interrupting the cat breeding cycle. Female cats are able to have multiple litters a year, as early as 6 months of age — while they are still kittens themselves! While these feral cats are not adoptable, we can still improve their lives and help the community with any nuisance behavior as spay/neuter surgery helps stave off hormonal responses which can cause marking, fighting among colony cats, and overpopulation of community cats. Cats are also vaccinated and given any necessary medical attention, likely for the first time in their whole lives.
In 2020 alone, Pet Alliance has spayed 343 unaltered females in our community. It’s estimated that those numbers correlate to 3,024 – 6,804 kittens who won’t be born in the wild in the coming year (based on the average number of pregnancies cats have a year, and the number of kittens born). See figure 1.1 above for a breakdown of the numbers. As with all exponential growth, that number would continue to increase for years if left unchanged.
With funding from PetSmart Charities and Petco Foundation, Pet Alliance has been able to dedicate every Friday at our Alafaya veterinary clinic to performing surgeries on community cats.
This has gradually expanded to additional days of the week and the inclusion of TNR partner CARE Feline TRN days as well. Cathy Houde, the Community Cat Program Manager spends each week canvassing neighborhoods to educate community members, setting traps, and transporting the cats to and from their surgery. Community members have been grateful to see Pet Alliance addressing this issue in their neighborhoods.
“The impact in our target zip codes has been great! County data does show a drop in intake in 32807 and 32822 zip codes since we began the program,” said Cathy. “The residents are so happy to see us and thankful for the help and free services. We are very well received. Some of the residents have come on board as volunteers as well.”
As this program continues to expand, Pet Alliance expects to see the number of kittens turned in at our shelters decrease even more as targeted efforts move across the greater Orlando area.
If you have questions about TNR or have community cats you would like altered, please reach out to Cathy Houde at [email protected]. Or reach out to CARE Feline TRN.
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