Tag Archives: TNR

A Behr Cat Colony Adventure

My friend R has always been allergic to cats, her asthma making the allergy even worse. But her heart is big and she began feeding a little stray cat on her front porch. She and her husband J named her Paint – ‘cause it looked like someone had spilled black paint on a white cat. Paint looked pretty young, but soon she brought around a little one of her own. He was white as well with a drop of black “paint” on his head, hence the name they gave him — “Drop.” I talked with R and J about getting the cats spayed and neutered – maybe even making them their own little trap-neuter-return (TNR) colony.

Our adventure is really about how one must persevere to get the right thing done. Before we could get our hands on a humane trap, Paint had kittens again. She had them under the carport, but decided that R & J were spending a little too much time looking in on them and about a week in she moved them while everyone was at work.

At that time, R made her move on Drop and scooped him up into a cat carrier so she could take him to be neutered. As one might expect, despite them feeding and petting him during meals he was NOT pleased with being picked up and bit R good. ACO had to come out and Drop had to go to the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) for a 10 day bite quarantine hold. During those 10 days, J made lots of calls to different cat rescues and the SPCA trying to figure out what they could do for Drop. J was able to make an appointment for Drop to be neutered at the SPCA, as well as vaccinated, and R registered their TNR cat colony. I met J at the WCAC that morning just to be of help if I could.

A few days before Drop’s SPCA appointment Paint went missing. We were all quite worried as she was always very prompt about coming up on the porch for breakfast and dinner. Her kittens were only two weeks old and R knew that she had to find where Paint had moved them. I got a frantic text that Thursday evening — you see, R & J are dog people and needed some quick advice about bottle feeder kittens. Kitten milk and bottles were quickly acquired and I hurried over with some syringes after realizing they might even be too little for bottles. J was a real trooper, getting up at all hours to make sure they were fed and pottied. We had talked enough about the tough situation with kittens at the WCAC right now so R knew she could not take them there. R found a friend who had experience with bottle feeder kittens and was willing to take them in. Whew, all was coming together.

Paint was still missing and late Sunday night I cruised the WCAC adoption gallery website and found this.


I clipped and emailed R. J and I arranged to be at the WCAC first thing Monday morning, ‘cause I saw that Paint had been there four days and I was afraid she was only on a five day stray hold. AND she didn’t have a name, which meant she was too feral when she came in for staff to handle her. This was not a good combination.

The next part of this adventure still makes my heart get all fluttery. J and I were taken back to the cat stray room by staff. She pulled the cat out of the box and upon looking closely at her J was convinced by the nick in her ear that it was Paint. Once the box was back in the kennel and the little door opened Paint stuck her head out. J leaned down and started sweetly talking to her and asking her if she was okay … and … she … started meowing at him. The kennel attendant with us said that Paint had not “spoken” since she came in and with the sweet way she meowed at J it had to be his cat whether we had a picture or not.

Back at the front desk it got complicated. I mean, it is county government after all, but I didn’t care how long it took them to get management to decide how to best handle a reclaimed cat who was going to become part of a TNR colony. I was just looking to get that “No PTS” (“do not put to sleep”) pop-up on her record. In the end, we were able to get C and Dr. S to arrange for J to reclaim Paint after getting all her vaccinations and spay surgery. Yea! I did the “I found Paint” happy dance most of the day.

Paint and Drop recovered from surgery and were released last weekend. They are now part of a county-register cat colony called “Behr.”They are enjoying their freedom and worrying R when they don’t show up on time for dinner.

Spaying and neutering is so very important. It’s been an overflowing kitten season at the WCAC and many have lost their lives for simple lack of space. If you insist on keeping your cats outdoors, please, please, please make sure they are spayed or neutered!

Population Control, Not Pest Control

In the second week of February and my second installment of Spay and Neuter Awareness month, I want to talk a little bit about stray cats. Note, that’s stray cats not Stray Cats.

Cats breed amazingly fast. Just one unaltered pair can lead to a colony of 280,000+ cats in seven years. There is debate around this number and mine is a nice round guess from some reading I did on Snopes. A lot of the arguments against the larger numbers published by spay and neuter advocates have their own mathematical issues based on a lack of understanding of reproductive realities of cats.

I am a shelter volunteer and I am a spay and neuter advocate. There are not enough homes to save the surrendered and abandoned cats. Using Animal Control Officers (ACOs) to deal with feral colonies takes resources away from those surrendered and abandoned animals. And although I believe there will always be some level of euthanasia needed in our communities until we all become spay and neuter advocates, the trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs being implemented around the country are a terrific service. Not only are those cats brought in spayed or neutered but they are also vaccinated and their ear is tipped (using a laser) for identification.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Operation Catnip was established in 1997 to offer free and low cost spay and neuter clinics for feral cats. Volunteer veterinarians and vet techs run monthly clinics where 100+ cats can be sterilized in a matter of hours. Other Volunteers bring the cats to the clinics and provide care until they are ready to be released back into their territory. They also take on the responsibility of making sure the colony has food, water, and shelter.

On June 14, 2012 Raleigh put in place a TNR ordinance allowing private citizens to either call animal control to come pick up the stray cats (which would most likely mean their euthanasia after the three day stray hold is up) or contact a non-profit TNR group, like Operation Catnip.

Check out Operation Catnip’s website for more about what they do and how they can help you with that neighborhood stray cat colony.

Spotlight on Diamond

WCAC ID: 97839

This beautiful fawn-brindle stray has been at the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) since Christmastime – what a Christmas that was. Staff estimate her to be around two years old. And she’s been overlooked for the last 51+ days ‘cause she’s a Pittie, she’s a husky 57 lbs., and seems like a lot of dog when you look at her through the bars of her kennel.

Once outside she calms down a lot and really loves her walks with the Fido Fitness crew. And she loves playing in the yard, but she is pretty picky about her canine playmates so she needs a human who really understands proper introductions and patience.

Oh, and NO CATS – ’nuff said!

When all this snow clears out, please stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to visit this girl. In the meantime, check out the WCAC Adoption Gallery for all the great animals (even a rooster) available for adoption. You’ll find a furever family member.