Volunteers as young as 11-years-old helped Alley Cat Rescue locate and Trap-Neuter-Return 42 cats in Roanoke last week.
Olivia, 11-years-old, was one of more than 20 people in Roanoke who Alley Cat Rescue trained to TNR cats in partnership with the Mountain View Humane animal hospital and Barn Cat Buddies, a sanctuary for feral or skittish cats, to help manage colonies there. TNR is the most effective and humane way to treat feral cats and manage their colonies, according to Alley Cat Rescue’s Guide to Managing Community Cats.
“We had two volunteers come with us trapping ... they had never done it before,” said Niki Cochran, program manager at Alley Cat Rescue. She added ACR staff taught them TNR techniques, and that “they’re going to be part of the feral cat community for the rest of their lives.”
The workshop’s goal was to teach community cat advocates in Roanoke how to conduct TNR sustainably, said Alley Cat Rescue’s director Denise Hilton.
Several residents at the trailer park, located in a heavily wooded area, were eager to hear the community cats would be returned control rodent and snake populations, Hilton added.
On the workshop’s first day, Hilton presented on how to humanely capture community cats with traps lined with newspaper and baited with wet food -- “the smellier, the better,” Hilton said.
Alley Cat Rescue taught the community cat advocates trapping techniques they wouldn’t have learned otherwise, such as how to establish a feeding schedule to better lure the kitties into traps when they’re most hungry, Hilton said. Roasted or fried chicken -- such as KFC -- also work to entice community cats, she added.
“[The volunteers were] so excited … that we were able to give them more knowledge to help them along,” Hilton said. “They don’t work for an organization, they’re individuals -- they are out of the kindness of their hearts concerned for the cats in their neighborhood.”
On the second day, our staff ventured out with community cat advocates, including 11-year-old Olivia and the two volunteers who never trapped before, to humanely capture kitties who lived around a trailer park. On the third day, Mountain View Humane spayed and neutered those cats.
Cochran said the workshop was successful because Mountain View Humane was similarly motivated how a shelter would be to promote TNR.
“The head vet [at Mountain View] was definitely instrumental in making sure they had these more progressive policies [concerning TNR],” Cochran said.
To make TNR sustainable in Roanoke, Alley Cat Rescue gave Barn Buddies a grant to conduct 200 free spays and neuters, and gave Mountain View Humane a grant to conduct 100 free spays and neuters. These grants are in addition to the 42 TNR's completed with Alley Cat Rescue. Our rescue also plans to give another grant to Mountain View Humane for spays and neuters.
This workshop was part of Alley Cat Rescue's new Alliance for Cat Protection program. The program helps build a network of support for shelters throughout the United States.
Alley Cat Rescue provides these Alliance shelters with comprehensive training in humane programs for community cats, including public workshops and staff training that save animals' lives. Our dedicated team visits these communities to educate and provide hands-on support with TNR, just as they did in Roanoke.
You can help ACR provide more shelters with help by donating to ACR and earmark your donation ----ACR----Training and Education.
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