Just want them to "disappear"?
Think they would be better off...elsewhere?
You may want to reconsider once you know the facts.We fervently hope that if you have arrived at our website, you have at least some respect for animal life and want to do the humane and responsible thing by getting these cats fixed. Of equal importance, however, removing the cats that are there now will not solve the issues you may be experiencing in your neighborhood...let's discuss why...
Fact 1: Cats are territorial...and opportunistic (the vacuum effect)
Remove the cats that are present now, and you will simply have removed the existing defenders of the territory…new (un-fixed, un-vaccinated) cats will move in shortly. The available resources in the area, like food, water, and shelter can be human-provided but are more often pre-existing in the environment. Think affordable housing – one tenant moves out, another is waiting to move in. In scientific terms, this is referred to as "the vacuum effect." The following is taken from the Alley Cat Allies website:
"Cats choose to live in an area for two reasons: because there is a food and water source, like the garbage in Brooklyn—and because there is shelter. The availability of these resources determines the number of cats who can live off of these resources. If the cats are removed, other cats will take advantage of these same resources, whether they move in from neighboring territories or are born from survivors. This phenomenon, known as the vacuum effect, is scientifically documented across a variety of species—and corroborated by decades of failed animal control policy."
Click HERE to read more about this phenomenon.
Fact 2: Cats are territorial to a fault...and dumping is illegal (traditional "relocation" is not an option)
while it may seem that the simplest and most immediate answer to the issue is removal and/or "relocation" of the cats in question, the truth is that not only will this method set in motion the vacuum effect mentioned above, but will also irreversibly harm the cats themselves. Feral cats are extremely territorial and have deep ties to their original homes - transporting a cat or cats to a new place and ensuring that they will stay there is a painstaking and time-consuming process and even when done correctly, provides no assurance of success (click HERE to read more about what proper relocation of feral cats involves). When done incorrectly, it is considered "dumping" or "abandonment" and is a prosecutable offense under New York State law. With respect to the cat or cats themselves, dropping a cat in unfamiliar territory equates to depositing a human in the middle of a foreign city with no map, translator, local currency, or means of contacting help...it is essentially murder, as the animal stands very little chance of survival against these odds.
Fact 3: You do neither yourself, NOR the cats, any favor even by properly relocating them away from their home territory (it's a lose-lose situation)
If you have arrived at this page not simply because you wish the cats "gone," but because you truly believe they would be better off somewhere else, please consider the following...if you are concerned about hostility from other residents in the area...this ill-will almost always results from the many problems associated with a large number of un-neutered and un-managed cats. TNR is the solution to these issues. Even if you feel certain you are able to properly relocate or are assured of finding them a better territory or even a sanctuary, consider not only that the cats would really rather stay where they are, but also that there are millions of feral cats in this country and only so many barns and sanctuaries. Even if you do find a new "home", often the circumstances are uncertain. You may be dealing with a hoarder, someone in a financially precarious position or a person whose long-term commitment to the cats is not strong. There just aren't that many good places to do a relocation. (If you do think you have indeed found a good place, it's absolutely essential that you personally inspect the premises, interview the primary caretaker to be absolutely sure that the re-introduction to new territory will be done properly, and request proof of financial soundness.) All these factors are why feral cat experts strongly discourage relocation of feral cats except in extreme (that is, life-or-death) circumstances where all other options have been thoroughly explored and ruled out. Even if, for example, the cats' territory is going to become the site of new construction, efforts to move their feeding station and shelter to safer, adjacent territory should be attempted before trying relocation to a completely new area.
Fact 4: Removing cats will NOT benefit other wildlife in the area...in fact, it will do the opposite (upsetting the balance)
We are often contacted by residents aiming to protect their local songbird population through the removal of feral cats from the area. The real truth is that when people misguidedly remove cats to protect wildlife, they risk seriously harming both the environment and the species they aim to protect. For example, rodents eat bird eggs and cats kill rodents...so without cats to keep the rodent population in check, there would be a spike in the most common natural predator of bird eggs in the ecosystem - bird species would actually be in greater danger of being wiped out - consider that while a cat might hunt and kill a bird once in a while, rodents will wipe out a whole nest in a matter of minutes, destroying a whole new generation before it even hatches. Multiple scientific studies have been done which lend support to this theory. Consider, also, that "house pets" are a fairly recent phenomenon. Cats have lived outside for thousands of years - if cats were a legitimate threat to the survival of bird species, birds would be practically extinct. The truth is that collisions with man-made buildings while in flight kill more birds annually than all naturall predators combined. Click HERE to read more about the cat/bird/rodent triangle, and the benefits of TNR for maintaining natural species predation.
Fact 5: Nearly ALL of the reasons one might consider removal of cats ARE ADDRESSED THROUGH TNR...and the benefit of cats' presence remains (TNR is WIN-WIN!!!)
Keep in mind that true advocates of TNR have precisely the same goal as those of you who have clicked through to this page…FEWER CATS ON THE STREET. The simple truth is that there are precious few people who actually enjoy listening to cats fight, mate, or yowl at 2am...nor do even the most devoted cat lovers among us relish the smell of un-neutered male marking-spray on their front steps or deck furniture. And any individual who truly loves cats does NOT like seeing litter after litter of kittens being born in their yard or in their neighborhood year after year. This is to say that anyone, regardless of whether they love or hate cats, has good reason to object to large numbers of un-fixed cats in their neighborhood. All these issues, often termed "nuisance behaviors" will abate or disappear altogether once a colony is trapped and fixed, particularly if the entire colony is TNR'ed at one time, a goal we emphasize in our training. In effect, TNR immediately stabilizes the size of the colony by eliminating new litters. The nuisance behaviors dramatically recede, including the yowling and fighting that come with mating activity and the odor of un-neutered males spraying to mark their territory. On top of all this, remember that TNR'ed cats are healthier cats, as they are not only under less stress and at less risk of diseases passed through fighting, mating, and birthing, but they are also RABIES VACCINATED and so pose no Rabies threat to the pets or people in the community.
In addition to eliminating the undesirable by-products of the presence of unfixed cats, the community they live in continues to benefit from other instinctual behaviors which all cats share...territory defense and rodent predation. That is, the returned colony guards its territory, preventing new un-neutered cats from moving in and beginning the cycle of overpopulation and problem behavior anew...and particularly in urban areas, the cats continue to provide natural rodent control...highly relevant in almost all neighborhoods of NYC.
Fact 6: If cats are there now, it is likely they have always been there and always will be...so you might as well deal with it effectively now (just do it, you'll see!)
whether you are a friend to cats or not, it is important to understand that removing cats from the territory in which they live will ultimately do more harm than good, both to the cats AND to the community. As explained above, proper relocation of feral cats is an involved and lengthy process, and even a properly executed relocation is not guaranteed a success. In addition, removal of the cats simply creates a situation in which the area will be re-populated with new un-fixed cats...in fact, the dynamic may actually worsen, given that these new cats moving in will often be mostly young, unneutered males with nothing better to do than fight over this newly available territory. The major advantage of dealing with the problem NOW is that you are dealing with an established colony whose dynamics are largely stable outside of the behaviors caused by their hormones. Once you eliminate those hormones, you will be left with the closest thing in the feline kingdom to "one big happy family."
...and YOU will finally be able to get a good night's sleep - we practically guarantee it!
On top of all this, click HERE to get useful tips on keeping cats OUT of gardens and yards.
PLEASE feel free to contact us directly with any and all questions you may have about the information discussed on this page.