Shelter moves forward with TNR program

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  • (Courtesy image) A feral cat is pictured with her kittens.

  • 1

    (Courtesy photo)Feral cats are pictured hanging out in this stock art.

  • (Courtesy image) A feral cat is pictured with her kittens.

  • 1

    (Courtesy photo)Feral cats are pictured hanging out in this stock art.

PONDERAY — The feral cat population in Bonner and Boundary counties is growing.

To help address the problem of cat overpopulation — since cats breed rapidly, Panhandle Animal Shelter notes, in a press release — the Ponderay facility has launched its Trap-Neuter-Return program. Thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities, PAS will spay/neuter 800 feral cats this year with the help of community volunteers.

With PAS’s TNR program, cats are humanely trapped, brought into the shelter for spay/neuter surgeries, and later returned to their outdoor homes. TNR is a proven method in controlling community cat population growth. Healthy, natural lives can be led by community cats, and the returned cats will have improved lives. For instance, behaviors and stresses associated with pregnancy and mating, such as fighting will stop.

When “fixed” cats are returned, they guard their colony’s territory, discouraging unaltered cats from moving in and repeating the cycle of overpopulation. When there are no more kittens, the population of the colony stabilizes and then begins to decline. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) endorses the TNR method as the only proven humane and effective method to manage community cat colonies.

While adult community cats cannot enter the shelter due to lack of socialization, kittens, under the approximate age of ten weeks, can come into the shelter to be socialized and adopted.

Taking a proactive approach to cat overpopulation is not only the right thing to do for the animals involved, but also, over time, it will help to lower cat intakes at area shelters. Panhandle Animal Shelter plans to sustain the TNR program from year to year.

Volunteers are needed to help manage community cat colonies in Bonner and Boundary counties. Managing the colonies would entail trapping, transporting to PAS for surgeries, and returning “altered” community cats to their colonies, as well as supplying food, water, and care for the returned cats.Management of a colony can be a shared by volunteers. If you would like to make a positive difference in your community, please call 208-265-7297, ext. 104.

The Panhandle Animal Shelter is a volunteer, non-profit shelter which is not affiliated with the county or city and receives no tax support. Mission: To diminish the number of lost, abandoned, neglected and abused dogs and cats through adoption, education, litter prevention and identification of missing pets.

Information: PAS, 870 Kootenai Cutoff Road, Ponderay, ID 83852; phone, 208-265-7297; or online, pasidaho.org

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