Saturday, 3 February 2018

Trap-Neuter-Return: How to Manage a Feral Cat Colony, Community Cats Toronto, Toronto, ON

I recently started volunteering with the Annex Cat Rescue as a social media volunteer.  Not only does the Annex Cat Rescue find homes for cats and kittens, they also have feeders who go to cat colonies around the city. 

In December, I visited a couple colonies with my friend, Trish, who is also a volunteer with the Annex Cat Rescue.  I thought it would be interesting to attend today's Trap-Neuter-Return: How to Manage a Feral Cat Colony workshop by Community Cats Toronto at the Annette Street Library.

Feral cats are trapped, neutered (along with a check-up and vaccinations) and then released back into their colony with a nipped left ear to signify they have been neutered.  Because they are used to living outside and fending for themselves, they are rarely taken in as pets.  Neutering feral cats lessens noise, odor and abundance of kittens ... so less problems in neighbourhoods.  One study showed that feral cats that are not neutered have a lifespan of about two years because of disease, scarcity of food and the stress of reproducing.

Attendees received a substantial manual

There were four volunteers from Community Cats Toronto presenting ... Penny, Bo, Carrie and Christina.  The workshop was a combination of lecture, demonstrations and videos.

Bo demonstrated how to use the different traps ...
during the break we had to set them too
Feral cats are kept in the trap until the visit to the vet for neutering
and Bo showed us how to clean to trap (with the cat still in it) and
put food and water inside (you insert a temporary divider pushing
the cat to one side of the trap and then the other) 
Carrie talked about keeping the cat calm in the trap
Covering the trap calms the cat down
Christina talked about what to use for leaving food and water out
and how to provide shelter
There are workshops to learn how to make your own shelter
Here's another trap to catch a feral cat ... pull the string the cat is inside
Then cover the trap to calm the cat down
Lift the door of the transporting trap to lure the cat into it

Everyone was provided with a certificate proving attendance at the workshop, which makes us eligible for access to the Toronto Animal Services (TAS) and Toronto Humane Society (THS) free spay/neuter clinics for ferals, equipment loans, expert advice and more.

It was an interesting workshop and I learned a lot.  I don't know if I have any colonies in my area but it gave me the information and confidence to help out if I'm ever needed.

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