Hundreds of thousands of stray cats live on Brooklyn’s streets. Some are friendly, but others have been on their own too long to go back to living with humans. They live in colonies, surviving as best they can. In the past, these unadoptable animals would often be caught and killed. But that’s not only cruel, it simply doesn’t work: more cats arrive to fill up the vacuum. So what can be done?
More and more municipalities, including New York, now endorse “Trap, Neuter, Return,” or TNR. Neighborhood volunteers, aided by animal rescue organizations, trap the cats in a colony and have them neutered or spayed. They are then “eartipped” – the tip of one ear removed painlessly – for identification as part of a TNR colony. Young kittens and friendly animals are adopted out. The rest are returned to wherever they were found – often a backyard, building courtyard, park or alleyway. Volunteers “manage” the colony, ensuring that the cats are regularly fed and warm shelters provided. Because they are not reproducing, the colony will eventually reduce naturally.
TNR works, but it depends on the efforts of volunteers. Brooklyn Animal Action members are involved in TNR work around Brooklyn. For more information on TNR and how you can get involved, check out the following organizations: