"TNR" stands for Trap-Neuter-Return, a program designed for the humane treatment of feral cats.
Feral cats congregate where there is food, water, and shelter. They help to control vermin, and when properly managed, can co-exist peacefully with humans. There are a number of feral cat colonies in and around Jefferson and a number of kind-hearted cat-loving individuals who have been taking care of them for years.
FOJA plans to work with these and other cat colony caretakers to trap, neuter (or spay), and then return the feral cats to their original location. TNR does not mean the cats are released in another area - the woods or someone's farm, for example!!! FOJA does NOT move colonies except in the most extreme of circumstances.
Over time as animals are not able to reproduce, the colony numbers will diminish naturally. An established colony does not typically accept a cat outside of their original family group, so newcomers will have to move on to another food/water/shelter source.
The FOJA TNR program is for feral colonies only and is not a foster-to-adopt program. If caregivers or individuals wish to take in cats or kittens and try to prepare them for homes, that is their decision and responsibility. Colonies are not the responsibility of FOJA, but we can and do assist colony managers/owners as we are able.
The key to working with colonies is the caretaker - i.e. the person who cares for them. FOJA does not start the colonies or pods. A caretaker is the person already working with the colony and usually, will be the person who contacts us for help. Sometimes, a concerned neighbor may be the initial contact. The caretaker is not necessarily a FOJA volunteer, but it can be. When we are contacted, we will assist as we have volunteers and funds with TNR. FOJA does not, as a rule, furnish food for colonies. If we have donated food that is not committed to one of our foster animals, we can share it, but we do not buy it for the colonies. That is the responsibility of the caregiver. FOJA does not provide veterinary care for cats in the colony who are ill or injured, and/or that have been taken into an individual's home to coalesce due to illness or injury. That is the responsibility of the caregiver or individuals who wish to do so.
Trapping can begin in the cooler Fall months. Caregivers who need assistance should get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will need to make a site visit to observe the cats and plan our trap placement. We ask that caregivers NOT provide food the evening before the trapping event. Volunteers with appropriate traps will arrive at the site on the scheduled date around dusk, set the traps, and stay on-site until animals are trapped or it is clear there will be no more "customers" that evening. The cats will then go home with approved volunteers and will be transported to Animal Protection League the following morning for needed services. After their surgeries, volunteers will keep the animals overnight before returning them to the colony the next day. It may take several appointments to trap all of the animals - caregivers must understand that this is a process. Herding cats is like, well, herding cats. Questions? Want to help? Please, get in touch!