Wednesday, August 1, 2012


It was a warm summer night and I was D & D (desperate and dateless) that particular Saturday night. So I decided to take the dogs for a bit of a stroll around the neighborhood. It seems like an innocent enough pastime. But nothing is ever simple or easy in my world. As we walked, we encountered a little boy playing with some kittens, who were running free. I asked the kid to go get his mother.  Instead nana emerged after a few minutes. Her home was adjacent to a park and first the mama cat had shown up, then one baby, then another, then finally three. The woman was at wit’s end. Luckily, the kittens were socialized and friendly therefore they were adoptable so I returned with a carrier and whisked them off. I explained to her I would be back later to do a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) with the mother. Spay/neuter is a founding principle upon which Planned Pethood is based.

The next day I was able to corral the mother without much trouble. As a matter of fact, mama was not much more than a kitten herself and she was very friendly. So I called Karen, Planned Pethood’s Cat Intake Coordinator. Karen has one of the toughest jobs in rescue. She literally gets 50 to 100 calls a day from people who want to dump cats or kittens, usually during the height of kitten season. And that is to her own, personal phone number! That's on top of the calls filtered to her from our FIXX Line (419.826.FIXX).  She must make the decision of who will be saved.

Well, Karen was in no position to add another adult cat to the program at that moment, but we got the cat in. People want to adopt kittens, the smaller the better. Adults tend to linger in foster care for months. We had Alice (I was on a presidential relatives naming kick) spayed and vaccinated with her foster going to be my semi-significant other, Bob. Bob tried fostering but he failed miserably because he ended up adopting Alice himself. Currently, two cats own Bob, Alice who is now 4ish and Brittney, both his former fosters ending his career as a foster dad.

TNR is misunderstood and people are wary about using it. So here is a short primer on what the heck TNR is. The cat population is out of control. One unaltered female cat can be responsible for thousands of offspring. Cats form colonies from which all new cats are excluded. If all the cats are fixed, the colony will eventually disappear through attrition. Friend and fellow rescuer, Nancy points out, “rehoming does not work as has been proven by every trailer park that has the decades old approach of forbidding feeding, then killing, or trapping/dumping”. Those trailer park problems persist.

Most people get the trapping and neutering but have issues with releasing the cats where they were found. We must point out too, that there is a big, big difference between a stray and a feral cat. Feral cats live in the wild without any socialization with humans. Trying to adopt a feral cat would be like trapping a squirrel and bringing it into your home as a pet. The goal is to trap the cat, spay or neuter, then release them where they were found.

My friend Jeannie is a self taught TNR expert. She has, to date, been responsible for TNR with 19 cats and kittens, most of them on her own dime. Planned Pethood began to help out when they discovered her need. They are known at the clinic as Stoney Creek #1, #2, #3…#19. Employees there and Jeannie are on a first name basis. She has had to fend off a great deal of resistance from upset neighbors. At one point, they were releasing the cats from their traps, thinking the traps were inhumane. Another resident stole her trap entirely. Some still are hostile to her efforts. She and other neighbors have a pool of money from which they feed the cats. I just got a bulletin from her: NO NEW KITTENS this season, it read. But this unbelievable dynamo did not stop there. She used TNR with the feral cats at her lake house too. They are known as the royal family, the Queen, Prince, Princess, and even Royal Consort (although his consorting days are now over). Hopefully, more and more people will become enlightened if not become an activist like Jeannie.

Traps can be obtained from Humane Ohio in the Toledo area for a cash deposit. They provide a low cost spay/neuter option. Any cats that arrive in a trap do not need an appointment. For those in economic hardship, Planned Pethood can provide assistance toward with the cost of spay/neuter in some cases.

Further information about TNR can be found at Humane Ohio and Alley Cat Allies websites. My heart and encouragement go out to all the dedicated and selfless volunteers who trap and transport. In most cases, it can be a thankless job. They are real heroes.

Regards, Judy S
We are dedicated toward the end of the pet overpopulation problem. Statistics have shown that the majority of litters in shelters are the product of unintended pregnancies. They have stories attached to them about how Sparky somehow got out of the yard or how some strange dog jumped into their yard. Your unaltered pet is the source of that unintended pregnancy. You have insurance on your car knowing you probably won't need it, but you have it when you do need it. Don't take the risk of having your pet contributing to the overpopulation problem (and, yes, this includes your cat or dog).

Planned Pethood began over 25 years ago when a small group of concerned animal lovers wanted to do something to stop the huge pet overpopulation problem in our area. They began a program of working with local veterinarians to offer low cost spay/neuter. Today we continue that mission.

When you join Planned Pethood, at an associate level or higher, your annual membership entitles you to low cost spay/neuter at any of the participating veterinarians listed below.

1 comment:

  1. We had a female cat who lived to be around 8 or so. She was put to sleep for health reasons. :( The one thing that I find interesting, she always had at least a litter a year, sometimes two, and she did so for around 7-8 years, but she never had near that many kittens, we never had near that many with all 15 or so female cats who had a litter a year here. Her kittens, and her kittens kittens have had kittens, we still have not had NEAR that many. I wouldn't even say near 1000. Just thought that was interesting.