Just about this time, one year ago, South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter’s Outreach department was noticing that most of our calls for help involving felines were about community cats (cats who live outdoors or are feral) or kittens found outside.
These calls were just one more indication of a problem that we were already aware of – massive cat overpopulation in our community.
It was time for us to do more to help caregivers and make a difference, and so began the shelter’s TNVR (Trap Neuter Vaccinate and Release) program. SJRAS’s TNVR Team is a group of dedicated staff members and volunteers who provide assistance with all aspects of a successful TNVR project: Trapping, transporting, and funding TNVR surgeries in our community.
What is TNVR?
Community cats are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped (the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to their outdoor home.
How does it address cat overpopulation?
Trap-Neuter-Return stabilizes feral cat populations by stopping the cycle of reproduction. Not only is Trap-Neuter-Return the humane option for feral cats, but it also improves cats’ lives by relieving them of the stresses of mating and pregnancy.
Who is responsible for taking care of community/feral cats?
The overpopulation of community cats is a community issue. Therefore, a community approach is the best way to address and solve the problem. We encourage you to talk to your neighbors and see if you can work together to reduce the population.
We advise all caregivers that according to New Jersey law, if a person feeds an animal for seven or more days, they become the legal owner of that animal, so the responsibility of a cat colony technically falls on the person or people who are feeding the cats (the caregivers).
Is it wrong to feed community cats?
No! It’s not wrong to feed community cats, but it is irresponsible to do so and not make every effort to have them spayed or neutered. Even if you are feeding a single cat, the population can grow out of control extremely quickly.
We also encourage feeders to keep their feeding stations clean, remove food after 30 minutes, and only feed during daylight hours in order to be respectful to neighbors and discourage wildlife from visiting.
What do I do if I need help from the TNVR Team?
If you need help, email TNVR@sjras.org or contact the Community Outreach Department. Due to the high volume of requests for help received, it may take some time for the team to get back to you. Please know that we are committed to helping as quickly as we can.
Once we have all the information we need, you will be added to our wait list and we will contact you to make arrangements to begin fixing cats as soon as we can.
What can I do if I want to get started more quickly?
We understand that when it comes to having cats spayed and neutered, you can’t act too soon. Since our team is limited to a block of appointments per week, if you are able to make your appointments our team can still assist you with trapping and transporting.
If you are limited financially, getting started with a single appointment will still make a big difference! Once you have your appointments set, please contact us and we will provide support in the form of education or volunteer assistance to ensure that the cat(s) are successfully TNVR’d!
How can I help support the TNVR Team?
Volunteer: We are in need of dedicated TNVR volunteers who can help with trapping, transporting cats to and from clinic appointments, making phone calls, fundraising, and organizing TNVR projects. You don’t need to be experienced. In fact our entire team was new to TNVR when we started, and we are happy to train new volunteers.
Financial support: Donations made to the SJRAS TNVR program go directly to providing spay/neuter surgeries for caregivers who cannot afford them.
TNVR supplies:Tuna pouches, sardines, canned cat food, tarps, flashlights, gloves, newspaper, sheets, zip ties, clothes pins, rope or twine, small disposable food trays, and tongue depressors/large popsicle sticks.
SJRAS needs: Dry cat and kitten food (no dyes please), canned cat and kitten food, hot dogs, cream cheese, cheese sticks, tuna pouches, catnip, cat scratchers, small soft training treats, and bubbles for enrichment.
To submit an adoption form for one of the Pets of the Week or another animal at the shelter, visit https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org