HS/N announces February TNR results

By Connie A. Hewitt | Mar 01, 2014
Photo by: Susan Kumpf The tipped left ear shows this female was fixed and vaccinated through Haywood Spay/Neuter's Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR project.

Trap Neuter Return team members humanely trap outdoor cats for free surgery, vaccination and parasite treatment. Every cat's left ear is tipped to show it is fixed before returning it to its colony.

“Another 75 community cats were fixed and vaccinated in February despite the surprise snowstorm,” said Susan Kumpf, TNR coordinator and board member for Haywood Spay/Neuter.

“Our enthusiasm for February as National Spay Neuter Awareness month was chilled by the cold weather, but there were enough good days to allow safe trapping and return of 75 free-roaming cats,” said Kumpf.

No community cats were helped in January due to the bitterly cold weather. The 75 cats helped by Feb. 28 compares to 43 cats in 2013 and 91 cats by the same date in 2012.  Humane trapping depends on weather mild enough to support low-risk recovery in their natural outdoor habitat.

Free-roaming and pet cats (and dogs) should be fixed by four months old to avoid first heats and “oops” litters. Early spay/neuter improves the animal's health for a lifetime and prevents common cancers.

"Over 60 percent of the female dogs and cats brought to the Humane Alliance clinic in Asheville for spay surgery last week were in heat or already pregnant," said Connie Hewitt, board president. "Spring is here."

A cat colony of four can more than triple in size with the second round of litters.  Unfixed colonies create a whirlwind of unwanted activity, drawing cats from miles around.  This increases cat food budgets for supplemental feeding and puts stress on the surrounding environment.  Too many cats in a colony will force some to strike out on their own, continuing the cycle of uncontrolled population growth.

"They look for new lodging where they can establish a family, where rodents are more plentiful and competition less fierce," said Kumpf.  "Spay/neuter keeps the hunters in place without stripping out all wildlife due to overpopulation issues."
Every spring, county shelter intakes spike as unplanned litters of kittens and puppies begin streaming into the system.  The number available for adoption and barn cat re-homing overwhelm the demand, forcing hard choices and euthanasia under current practices.

“There is no downside to early spay/neuter,” said Hewitt. “We make it affordable, but pet owners make it happen."

Haywood Spay/Neuter’s Trap-Neuter-Return or TNR project is made possible by a generous grant from PetSmart Charities and donors who know that TNR works.

In 2013, nearly 780 community cats were fixed and vaccinated across Haywood County. Now in its sixth year, the TNR project has helped over 3,000 free-roaming cats and prevented an untold number of unplanned litters, many of which end up in the county shelter as ferals and are euthanized.

For more information on when to spay/neuter or to schedule trapping, call Susan at 400-5981 or 452-1329. Learn more about the health benefits of early spay/neuter at www.haywoodspayneuter.org and follow the community updates on HS/N’s Facebook page.


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