Today is World Stray Animal Day and we’re focusing on our four-legged feline friends: cats. The UK is often described as a nation of animal lovers and with 7.5 million moggy housemates across the country it’s clear to see they’re part of the family. But for the hundreds of thousands of cats that don’t have a ‘traditional’ home to call their own, we can still show them some love.
First and foremost, it is nicer to neuter.
Stray or feral cats, often termed ‘community cats’ can live full, healthy lives with their feline families (called colonies) in their outdoor homes. A process known as trap-neuter-return, also referred to as TNR for short, is the only humane and effective approach to managing community cat populations. TNR involves humanely trapping outdoor cats (usually feral), having them spayed or neutered, and returning them to their outdoor homes. This results in cats not being able to produce any more kittens; there will be fewer cats in your community and they can enjoy a healthier, happy life.
Our teams work across Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe to deliver TNR services to cats in need. But why is this approach so successful?
- Community cats thrive in their outdoor homes. For more than 10,00 years, cats have lived outside alongside people
- TNR reduces rescue centre/shelter admissions and operating costs. Fewer community cats also increases shelter adoption rates, as more cage space opens up for adoptable cats
- Neutering community cats reduces or even eliminates the behaviours that can lead to nuisance complaints
- TNR can result in healthier, happier cats
Life outdoors however isn’t without risk. Cats can be subject to injury, disease, parasites and even poison. TNR helps mitigate these risks by providing cats with flea treatment, vaccinations, and reduces roaming through sterilization.
So what can you do to help cats?
If you own a cat, make sure your pet is neutered, all his vaccinations are up to date and he is microchipped. Or if you see a cat outside, don’t assume that he or she doesn’t have a home. Instead keep an eye on him and if you notice any apparent health problems put posters up or use local community groups to check if he has an owner.
If you see a cat in need, don’t look away. Call a local rescue centre or animal welfare charity that might be able to help. If you see a sick or injured cat while travelling, try to locate the nearest animal welfare charity who might be willing to help. Also be mindful that in some Asian countries cat meat can often be found on the menu. Many of these cats have been snatched from their owners and are transported, traded and killed in horrendous ways.
Do not support this cruel industry and do not buy from restaurants or markets that have cat meat on their menu. Find out more about how you can help #ProtectMillions of cats from the trade here.