Media: Inside Toronto, July 2012
ALLEY CAT ALLY: Training Torontonians to trap
By Hanna Booth
Did you know that Toronto is one of the most progressive and collaborative cities in North America when it come to feral cat management?
For the last two years, the Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition has been working together to strategically sterilize thousands of feral cat colonies in our cities. Our aim is to improve the welfare of cats living on the streets and to lower our shelter intake and euthanasia rates.
We’re following in the footsteps of other cities such as New York, Oregon and San Diego that have built successful community-wide trap neuter return (TNR) programs.
It has been proven that the most effective way to prevent feral cat overpopulation is through city-wide TNR programs. This involves a collaboration of caretakers, local rescue groups, humane societies, veterinarians and city animal control.
The Toronto Feral Cat TNR Coalition meets every month at city hall to discuss our progress, challenges and ongoing projects.
So far we’ve collectively sterilized a few thousand street cats and trained hundreds of colony caretakers in feral cat management.
We’ve developed a strategic approach, and a network of partnerships, to effectively sterilize entire colonies and communities of feral cats so new kittens aren’t born into the population.
One of our current challenges is that many of the people who contact Animal Services about feral cats are not able or willing to trap the cats and bring them into the clinic.
As a result, one of our current coalition projects is to train Torontonians to trap wild cats.
Just think how many cat lovers in the city would find it exciting and rewarding to go out in the night and trap feral cats so they could be sterilized and live a better life?
Our goal is to have teams of experienced trappers in each area of the city who can assist with the TNR in situations when there is not a caretaker who can trap.
Trapping is easy and almost anyone can do it. However, you do need to be familiar with the traps and the process.
Here’s the basic premise to trapping;
1. The caretaker feeds the cats at the same time every day so cats get used to them showing up when it comes time to trap.
2. Food is withheld for the day prior to trapping so the cats are hungry enough to go in the traps.
3. At the typical feeding time, the traps are set with smelly, enticing food and covered with a blanket. Trappers then wait nearby and check the traps every half hour for visitors.
Think you may want to be a volunteer trapper with our coalition?
Let us know and we’ll train you to trap and connect you with a trapping mentor or a cat captain in your area. Just fill out the volunteer form at www.torontostreetcats.com or email us at email@example.com
This could easily turn out to be the ideal social event – a mission out to trap cats after dark with your favorite friends, snacks and drinks.
Feature colony cat:
Luongo is an incredibly energetic, vibrantly healthy, charming, friendly and affectionate young male cat who sports a long tabby and white coat and loads of personality. His foster mom is always entertained watching feisty Luongo play around her apartment.
He is also affectionate – he will purr while you hold him in your arms, loves to be petted and cuddles up with you on the couch or sits on your lap. When guests visit, Luongo will entertain and impress them with his friendliness and will choose to sit on an admiring guest’s lap. It’s hard not to fall in love with this charmer who loves human companionship.
He is patient while getting his claws trimmed and is calm when traveling in a carrier. Luongo tends to be respectfully quiet at night and lets you get a good night’s rest.
Before Luongo was rescued by Annex Cat Rescue, he lived on the street, among a colony of cats.
This neutered young man is approximately two years old and is up to date on his vaccinations.
To inquire about Luongo, leave a message at 416-410-3835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org