TNR Works

Join us as we discover Project Bay Cat and find out how effective TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) can be with a real visit to a successful venture.

We had a chance to visit the world’s first official managed feral cat colony on our USA trip in early July 2016. We were invited thanks to our friend Savannah, a San Francisco resident, and her mum Linda.  Savvy reports regularly with her Mom L on their ‘Return to Field‘ work and local TNR on their blog.

Project Bay Cat – History

The Project Bay Cat colony was founded by Cimeron Morrissey, in association with the Homeless Cat Network and visionary local councilors, back in 2007. Here’s what happened…

A meeting was called for concerned people to exchange views on the problem of cats being dumped in the Bay Trail area at that time. At this meeting Cimeron heard talk of shooting and poisoning the cats, but, thankfully sense prevailed and Project Bay Cat was born out of a willingness of the Homeless Cat Network, volunteers, and the local authority to work together.

Showing How TNR Works with Project Bay Cat

A few things happened after this historic meeting :-

TNR was introduced as part of a long-term plan to humanely reduce the cat population; and
It was made illegal to dump cats – a statute that was vigorously enforced with the help of the local police and authorities.
Feeding stations were established to allow the cats to be well fed, and their health to be regularly monitored.
A local veterinary practice was heavily involved. In this case Crystal Springs Pet Hospital.

* Mouseover for descriptions. Pictures can be enlarged with a click *

Our Own Visit to Project Bay Cat

We were here, in San Francisco, and on our way to visit Project Bay Cat! Our group consisted of Savannah’s Mom L and Dad P, and Mum representing the blog. We drove to meet with one of the volunteers who was going to tell us about the daily life and routine of the colony.

It was an exciting moment for us as we pulled up, eager to see the Project in action, and discover how it really had made TNR work on the San Francisco peninsula. Having read the history of the Bay colony, and followed posts on the lively and active Facebook Group, to actually stand looking out at the Bay in the sunshine, was a real thrill. 

Our volunteer and guide Martha, unloaded a lot of food and fresh water which was put into a very practical pull-along trolley. This trolley was vital as carrying the heavy weight of food, water and cleaning materials to each of the feeding stations along the route would be impractical, and exhausting.

“The City, and Homeless Cat Network have teamed up to address the challenges
associated with homeless cats on the Bay Trail.”

Our small group set off, and, as we walked, Martha gave us a brief outline of the Project’s success along this part of the Bay, and also the next major challenge further up river. A development was proposed that would change the cats environment dramatically and moving the cats would take a lot of careful thought and effort – it was very much a work in progress.

We were told what the volunteers do, day in and day out to ensure the cats are safe and well fed. All the time, as we walked and talked, there were cyclists speeding by, enjoying the weather and the stunning views over the sunny Bay.

“Project Bay Cat is *a lot* of work. It takes quite a bit of effort to make sure we have enough volunteers and food to feed the cats every day, to catch the cats when they’re sick/injured and take them to the vet, to maintain their feeding stations and shelters, find and train new volunteers…the to-do list is endless.”

Project Bay Cat Visit Feral cat

We visited a number of well constructed, waterproof shelters; and feeding stations along the side of the Bay Trail path. Each station is cleaned of debris, the food replaced and the cat dishes washed. Sometimes skunks come and steal food but this is not a serious issue, and the cats know the volunteers’ routine well enough to appear when ‘dinner is served’. The carefully sited shelters are set well back off the cycling trail and invisible from public view. 

While Martha was tending one of the shelters, a golfer from the nearby range shouted to ask who she was, and what she was doing. Our volunteer identified herself as part of the Project Bay Cat team and explained she was tending to the feeding station today. This seemed to reassure the golfer and he returned to his practice. While we were not sure if he was a concerned cat lover, or a curious golfer; but he spoke up, which is a good thing – someone out to cause trouble would move on quickly when challenged.

Our Visit to Project Bay Cat Ends 

As we left the area, our group were impressed by the dedication, commitment and long-term intentions of Project Bay Cat. The far-sighted judgement of the municipality has paid dividends. Working hand in hand with the Homeless Cats Network on the Project, this humane option of control has steadily reduced the number of cats from an original figure of 175 to a mere 30; and it continues to fall thanks to TNR, the adoption of friendly cats into homes, and natural attrition by illness. 

Many other local authorities could – and should – follow the strong lead from Project Bay Cat and the City authorities, paying attention to the proven work done here. Every local council and authority can work with local groups, and shelters, to ensure cats all over the USA, and all over the world, are treated with care and respect. TNR does work, cat numbers do decrease and both cat lovers and their adversaries can work to improve the situation of feral cays in a pro-active and positive way. 

Did we learn a lot on our visit? Yes we did. Running an organisation like this needs dedication and commitment. Most importantly we learned that it can de done. Trap-Neuter-Return does work. The cats rely on the volunteers – these people work for free with the interests of the cats at their very heart. The original stupidity of the people dumping cats is being sensitively tackled and reversed.

Thank you Martha, and all of the volunteers who help this trail blazing cause. It is a model for TNR worldwide with its compassion, its determination and the perceptive pro active municipal authorities.

Miranda Kitten
Project Bay Cat Reporter
Miranda at Dash Kitten Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reference sources :-
National Feral Cat Day 16th October
Official Project Bay Cat Introduction Brochure
Cat Fancy Magazine, 2007

Please share for our buddy #MommaKatsSearch Read about this heroic little cat here!!

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29 Comments

  1. Seville at Nerissa's Life

    August 23, 2016 at 9:53 am

    This is an extremely informative article. WELL DONE! Should be mandatory readin’ for all.

    Purrs,
    Seville

    Reply

  2. Katie Kat

    August 20, 2016 at 2:12 am

    This is such a good article showing that TNR works. I may have to print it and mail to our local shelter who believes TNR just leads diseased animals

    Reply

  3. Bryn Nowell

    August 19, 2016 at 8:16 am

    This is fascinating. I’m so happy to hear you were able to visit so that you were then able to share your experience and why this venture is important with your readers. I hope other communities adopt a similar program!

    Reply

  4. Cathy Armato

    August 19, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Great article, how wonderful that you got a chance to visit the area. TNR definitely works, but I love how this community came together to put such a large and well run program together. It’s unreal how people just find a spot and start dumping animals there, so inhumane.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply

  5. Sweet Purrfections

    August 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I’m not sure about TNR programs in my area, but I’ve been reading some comments on a local FB page about it.

    Reply

  6. Dolly the Doxie

    August 18, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    We are strong components for TNR, it’s very active in Chicago because the feral cats help control the rat population. Thanks for your kind comments on my pancreatitis post. You might want to check out my recent posts on Tree House Humane Society a leader in TNR here. Love Dolly

    Reply

  7. Tenacious Little Terrier

    August 18, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    How awesome you were able to go see for yourself. People do TNR too but I haven’t seen any feeding stations.

    Reply

  8. Beth Patterson

    August 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Although I don’t have personal experience with a TNR group, I have heard that they work really well. I know that feral cats can thrive in mild climates, but around here the winters are so severe that I don’t know how they survive.

    Reply

  9. Kama

    August 18, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    This is great! I do TNR with a feral colony that lives in my neighborhood. I wish more people would participate in this type of program and help cut down the stray cat population.

    Reply

  10. Dusty Desert Dogs

    August 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Amazing how dedicated the people from TNR are and I’m so glad that they are able to still properly care for the cats.

    Reply

  11. Lindsay Pevny

    August 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

    With how difficult it sounds to keep up, it’s wonderful that there are people who won’t give up on giving these cats full, free lives. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  12. Rochelle

    August 18, 2016 at 7:07 am

    So great! We have TNR in New York, too, and it’s such a great initiative, What wonderful volunteers!

    Reply

  13. Kelly

    August 18, 2016 at 4:30 am

    The dedication of these people taking care of these cats is commendable. I have posted about a TNR project here to and I think it’s a terrific program to help these cats.

    Reply

  14. Nichole

    August 18, 2016 at 4:13 am

    This is awesome – wonderful place! Thank you telling us about it.

    Reply

  15. Amy Shojai

    August 18, 2016 at 3:40 am

    I’m a huge fan of TNR! Great program, thanks for shining a light on this.

    Reply

  16. Tonya Wilhelm

    August 18, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Thank you so much for caring for these kitties. You have a kind heart.

    Reply

  17. Juliet Chelton

    August 18, 2016 at 1:14 am

    What a fantastic article highlighting the brilliant and tireless work these wonderful volunteers do for the lovely cats.

    Reply

  18. Sonja

    August 18, 2016 at 12:46 am

    wow that is really great! I know that vets without borders often help set up these kind of things around the world. I saw it work well in Greece. Many of the islands have far fewer strays … although a long way to go still.

    Reply

  19. Denise Gruzensky

    August 17, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    What an amazing place and it isn’t too far away from us in Central California. I’m going to have to add it to my bucket list along with Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary!

    Reply

  20. The Swiss Cats

    August 16, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Great post ! Wonderful project, and wonderful example of a TNR success ! Purrs

    Reply

  21. Erin the cat Princess

    August 15, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I mirror ALL the sentiments of my fellow readers, and pride that we have such dedicated people helping all the cats. Great post and I hope we can see more folk and YES cities and counties and states stepping up and accepting a perfectly reasonable and doable challenge .

    Reply

  22. Summer

    August 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    We think Project Bay Cat is awesome! And yes, its methods should be repeated where ever there is a feral cat colony.

    Reply

  23. meowmeowmans

    August 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    TNR totally works, and we love what Project Bay Cat is doing! Thanks for this wonderful, educational and informative report!

    Reply

  24. Three Chatty Cats

    August 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This is just awesome and such a great example of TNR working!

    Reply

  25. Kitties Blue

    August 15, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    What a great post. We had no idea this place even existed. What a wonderful example for other communities dealing with feral cat colonies. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    Reply

  26. The Island Cats

    August 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, what a special visit. We know TNR works and Project Bay Cat proves it.

    Reply

  27. Brian Frum

    August 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Oh yea, TNR works, we’ve got the kitties to prove it. A most terrific post gang!!!

    Reply

  28. Savannah's Paw Tracks

    August 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Mom L agrees that this was a highlight of her whole 2016 year!! Miss Martha was such a wonderful guide. We learned a ton about the care and management of community cat colonies and the opportunity to, over time, actually socialize adults to allow them to be adopted in to caring homes.

    Reply

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