Catnip Casa Cat Refuge actively supports TNR. To that end, we assumed ownership of the TNR (trap, neuter, return) group Austin Humane Society (AHS) started in 2010. Some people use the term TNRM, with the M being used for maintain. We always maintain. That is an integral part of TNR, even though we don’t use that acronym. AHS needed to pass the responsibility for coordinating this resource to someone else as of August 31, 2015. Their focus is on growing the surgical capabilities and handling the medical side, and they needed to devote more resources to that program. The people in this group are hard-working volunteers who do the field work on their own time and with their own resources. We accepted the challenge of keeping and growing this resource.
Of course, AHS is not out of the picture. We depend on each other in many ways and have a close working relationship. They provide traps for the trappers and for the public, for TNR projects and for use in situations where injured or lost pets are difficult to recover. AHS provides the largest and most widely used clinical services for all feral/community cat programs in Austin.
Some private vets offer discounts and also assist when an animal needs care for another injury or illness, making that animal unsuitable for the mass surgical services on clinic days at AHS. A voucher program managed by Austin Animal Center (AAC) helps support those special services. AAC and AHS are the most important part of the community cat program. None of the trappers could make a substantial impact without the Austin Humane Society’s clinic.s and mega-clinic days. They work hand-in-hand with other programs and trappers to help the community cats.
The TNR group is a closed group that is carefully vetted to maintain the safety of the cats and the trappers. It’s not a public group for people just wanting information. There are many online resources and free webinars to serve that purpose. We recommend Alley Cat Allies and Best Friends Society, as well as Austin Humane Society Feral Cat TNR Program.
This is a working group. While we are always glad to welcome new members, we hope you understand why we don’t hand out access to this group without asking questions. You may be asked to meet with a trapper or work on a couple of trapping jobs before joining. You might be asked for a referral from someone in the group or an organization that is active in the trapping community. Please don’t be offended, all you need to do is watch the news to understand why this is necessary. Not everyone has good intentions toward people or animals. The safety of both is a high priority.
There is usually a volunteer opportunity available with a small population of special needs cats at Catnip Casa, if trapping seems too scary. Most of our volunteer opportunities involve the daily cat care jobs such as cleaning, sweeping, scooping litter and mundane necessities like that. Community cats live here too. We even have special needs cats that are and/or were community (feral) cats.
The community cats need the same things all cats need. They need good food, shelter boxes for winter if they are in a location that allows for special shelters, water, and a caregiver to feed and check on them once or twice a day. Some live on business properties, others live in residential areas or rural farms. We get requests for food when the caregivers run into financial hardship. We get requests for help trapping when a person can’t physically do that work themselves. We get requests to teach trapping. We also get requests to try to find placements when a colony loses their home due to construction, illness or death of a caregiver, or some type of habitat change such as flood or fire. The demand is much larger than the resources the TNR group has available, but we do the very best we can.
You may donate supplies or money and you may ask that your donation(s) be used for the feral cats. You may also support the TNR efforts by increasing our supply of equipment through TruCatch Trap Donation program. Some items are only a few dollars, others cost more. This equipment will be loaned to any of the individuals or groups. It’s a great way to help the trappers and the cats. http://www.trucatchtraps.com/gifts/index/view/code/64bfa0e438a2f526fa5114a08b601726/
For those in Travis County, the Catty Shack is a great resource. One of the trappers kindly put this info together.
If you support TNR, for our rural areas especially, please donate money to help offset the costs the rural trappers must pay to use the only clinic resource available to most of them. See more info here.