What is Trap-Neuter-Return?
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats. Now in practice for decades in the US and Canada, after being proven in Europe, scientific studies show that TNR improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time. It encapsulates the notion of prevention being better than cure.
For scientific studies about TNR see http://www.alleycat.org/page.aspx?pid=668
Here’s a great brochure that even shows the kind of humane traps we use http://www.vet.utk.edu/cait/pdf/brochures/Feral%20Cat%20Brochure.pdf
Why are there feral cats in the village?
There have been domestic cats in Europe for at least 2000 years. Their arrival went hand in hand with the development of agriculture, as stored grain attracts rodents, cats eat rodents and so a symbiosis emerged in which humans liked having cats around, and cats were able to survive by being in these settlements with some additional protection from predators.
There are probably feral cats in many villages right across Europe, and it may be that the ancestors of the cats we see today in the village were here in Roman times.
Aren’t there more important issues in the world?
There are lots of big issues in the world, but this project is about 'thinking global, and acting local'. It is not just about these particular cats. If other villages can take this humane approach, there will be more stable and healthier populations of feral cats, and frankly, less stress and suffering for these animals.
Feral cats destroy wildlife, so shouldn’t they be eradicated?
This one is for our Australian friends in particular. Feral cats are a big problem for the ecology of Australia. They have proliferated in the bush and kill small mammals, birds and reptiles. The important difference is that they were introduced when Europeans arrived a couple of hundred years ago. Cats have been in Europe for much longer and are not such a problem for the ecology. In fact, we haven't seen the cats in the village catch birds. They do hunt rodents and of course this is why farming people like having them around.
I’m a dog person – can I help?
Yes, absolutely - you may even discover that you quite like being both!