The R for Return in Trap-Neuter-Return is a very essential part of the process. If the goal is to keep the population decreasing vs increasing, fixed cats need to be returned to the location where they were trapped. Of course it’s in the best interest of the cats to go back to their original location. The proper process of rehoming is long, sometimes tedious and isn’t always successful. Often, recently rehomed cats leave the new location to return home and are killed in the process crossing busy intersections.
What will surely happen if cats are not returned and simply eradicated, is known as the “Vacuum Effect”. A food source is a food source. Eliminating the cats does not eliminate the food source. This being said, new cats will come to take advantage of the unattended smorgasbord of discarded trash or the kind caregiver down the block who might still put a bowl out for a passerby.
When all the cats in the colony are sterilized, they’re not apt to invite newcomers to the group. Why would they? They have no need to mate any longer. That cute girl cat won’t be going into heat and wanting a male partner to mate. The males won’t be going out looking for new females to bring back to the colony, so the invitations won’t be present and the fixed cats will guard their food source. Problem solved.
Catch and kill has been practiced for years unsuccessfully for reasons that we continue to do all sorts of bad things without finding resolution, because they’re seemingly easier. But if the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results holds true, it’s really insane to think that simply killing cats will solve the problem.
Just think about it this way. Would any community fully support a practice of trap/kill? Would any kind philanthropic minded individual donate money to an organization that made it’s mission to kill cats? Of course not. So trap/kill or trap/relocate should not even be an option.
Trap/relocate has been used for years and years to rid an area of cats, but what does that do? It floods farming communities with excess cats. Cats are “taken for a ride” which is a nice way to say DUMPED. This “Not In My Backyard” mentality is bad for countless reasons. “Driving them out to the country”, makes for an abundance of cats in an area that can actually safely shelter them and keep them off city streets. In these cases they may live even longer which is nice except when unfixed, they breed so much that the whole colony often becomes very sickly and many of these cats die a really bad death.
The answer to the outdoor feline overpopulation problem is simple. It’s humane. It’s effective. It’s TNR.