Program To Decreases Homeless Feral Cat Population Deemed Successful

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is reporting the positive results of a feral cat trap, neuter and return (TNR) program that the municipal agency enacted in October 2008.

Since the humane solution was implemented for these outdoor cats not socialized to people, the shelter has noted a significant decrease in the number of feline offspring entering the shelter’s foster care program.

Big decline 

The shelter saw a 58 percent decrease in the number of feral offspring in the shelter’s foster care program in 2011 from 2010.  In addition, foster data from 2008 through 2011 show a 41 percent drop in the number of bottle-fed kittens entering the shelter and a nine percent decrease in the total number of kittens under eight weeks of age (pediatric kittens) needing foster care when comparing 2010 to 2011.

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter began its volunteer foster care program in 2005 in response to the volume of pediatric kittens that would benefit from out-of-shelter care. TNR was successfully piloted in 2007 and 2008 and the official program was launched in the fall of 2008. Since then, 1,800 feral cats have been trapped, neutered, vaccinated and returned to “managed colonies” in the community. More than 330 citizens have participated in the shelter’s program.

“Trap, neuter and return works,” said Fairfax County Animal Shelter Director Dr. Karen Diviney. “It is a humane solution and we are thrilled that in such a short time the TNR program is showing significant results in Fairfax County. She points out that with the help of citizen trappers, “we are able to spay or neuter these cats before they contribute to our community’s homeless cat population.”

For more information about the shelter’s trap, neuter and return program, call the Fairfax County Animal Shelter at 703-830-1100