Trap-neuter-return is better solution for stray cats

While I am pleased that you have highlighted the issue of feral and stray cats ("Call of the wild can be deadly for stray cats," July 7), I am very disappointed that the article neglected to mention the only solution that works: TNR, trap-neuter-return. Various long-term studies have documented that trapping and killing or relocating feral cats does not work. A vacuum effect is created, and new unneutered cats move into the territory and breed to capacity. Decades of these policies have led only to population increases. Acknowledging the failure of trap and kill, Baltimore city enacted a TNR law in 2007. With TNR the breeding stops, and the territory is held by the neutered cats, preventing new unneutered toms from entering and breeding. The colony is stabilized and over time decreases. In addition, nuisance-type behaviors associated with mating are stopped. In addition to neutering, TNR programs generally include vaccinating against rabies and distemper.

While your article referred numerous times to animal control, it did not mention the fact that the National Animal Control Association voted in February 2008 to endorse TNR for feral cat management. TNR is also endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, and many humane societies and animal rescue groups throughout the country have some type of TNR program.

We are fortunate to have many resources in this area. Alley Cat Allies, based out of Bethesda, provides a wealth of information; check out their web site at An online inquiry will generate an automated email reply from their Feral Friends Network providing contact info for local resources, including low-cost (free for D.C. residents) feral neutering clinics and borrowing of traps. Alley Cat Allies holds monthly workshops in both Baltimore and D.C.

Nadine Tolosa


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