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06.26.2023

Community Cat Caretakers on the Importance of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release)


We asked Community Cat Caretakers about the importance of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), and they had so much to say! Christine Rock is just one of the dozens of Community Caretakers who shared in their own words why support for PAWS’ TNR voucher program is so important:

“TNR is vital in a city like Philadelphia where there are well over 400,000 stray cats. Without this service, I honestly cannot imagine how many cats would be on the streets. TNR is really such a compassionate way of preventing animals from being born into homelessness, and it gives the adult cats a chance to live healthier, happier lives. TNR is also great for communities. Cats that have been spayed and neutered not only stop reproducing, but problem behaviors like spraying, yowling, and fighting lessen or disappear altogether.”

“Subsidized TNR is truly a blessing, there is no other way to describe it. It is literally invaluable. There are so many places across the country that do not have access to free TNR, and I count myself as being incredibly lucky to be able to partake in this program. For people who volunteer, foster, and engage in rescue efforts, free TNR makes it possible for us to help even more cats without costing us even more money than we already spend. Most of us are living paycheck to paycheck and I am personally in the negative every month, so words can’t express how phenomenal it is to have this service. It’s also a great way to engage the community in helping cats for free. Times are really tough, and most people cannot afford to pay out of pocket to have stray cats fixed. Offering free TNR enables the community to take ownership and make immediate changes to their neighborhoods.”

“I work with PAWS both individually, when I TNR cats, but primarily, I work with PAWS through Stray Cat Relief Fund, a 501c3 rescue. I am a volunteer and board member for the organization, so I bring tons of cats into PAWS through the rescue, just about on a weekly basis. I have to also say, the staff is beyond incredible! Without their professionalism, compassion, and diligence, the TNR services would not be so successful. Their efficiency and responsiveness is unparalleled.”

Most TNR cats are returned to their outdoor territories after recovering from their spay/neuter surgeries, where they’ll happily live their lives with the support of their caretakers. But sometimes, life has other plans!

“Even when a cat seems like the perfect candidate for a return to field, that often changes. Mona (below) is a perfect example. She was trapped at 25th and Jefferson in the middle of North Philly, when I was grabbing another cat from the same location that needed wound treatment. Mona was terrified of people, and hovered at the back of her crate for the few days before her appointment. After being spayed, she was still pretty shy and would not engage with me at all, so I planned on releasing her. The day I decided to release her, everything suddenly had changed. She greeted me at the door of the crate, and rubbed against me for pets. It was like she was a completely different cat! Now, she is living her best life inside.”