Cat colonies exist throughout the United States because people have neglected to spay or neuter their cats. This problem becomes compounded when companion cats are allowed to roam outdoors and breed. Their offspring can reproduce as early as four months of age and colony populations explode if left unattended. When looking for solutions to help decrease the number of stray cats in a neighborhood, some may say, it is not my responsibility to pay for someone else’s irresponsibility. In response, some compassionate and concerned individuals have chosen not to turn a blind eye to a fixable problem and have become “caretakers” for these forgotten felines that some have coined menaces. These individuals work tirelessly to humanely control their colony populations by implementing a trap, neuter, and return program, commonly referred to as TNR. Different studies have been performed throughout the U.S. to prove the efficacy of TNR for feral cat colonies. Two studies in Chicago monitored several colonies over time that resulted in a 40%-50% decrease in their populations. Other studies have proven the same thing–TNR works.
Some legislators realize the need for a solution to this ever-present problem and are supporting TNR. In 2017, Illinois’ Governor Bruce Rauner passed a law stating animal funds could be used to help support TNR programs. In 2018, Delaware’s Governor John Carney signed HB 235 to encourage individuals of feral cat colonies to spay and neuter the cats in their care. These states are taking an active role in creating a more humane world for these feral felines.