Animals in Distress: How TNR is helping control the UAE's feral cat population
Sponsored column: Animals in Distress is a new What’s On column profiling the amazing animal shelters, veterinary clinics, carers and passionate team at Royal Canin UAE working together to save the lives of stray animals in the UAE. Every month, Royal Canin UAE has pledged to cover the costs of vet bills for select animals in need, but they are also proud to be involved in the TNR method – an ambitious goal to help as many stray animals as possible…
It is a well known fact that the stray feline population in the UAE is growing at an alarming rate. While animal rescue charities around the UAE do a wonderful job of fostering, rehoming and offering emergency care, there are still thousands left on the street to fend for themselves.
Animal lovers do their bit to help, by providing food, water and a little love for the strays, but this is only a temporary solution.
What happens, is when cats find a regular source of food and shelter, they form a territorial colony for protection. To ensure a thriving colony remains heathy, the growing population of cats in the colonies must be managed through the TNR method supported by Royal Canin UAE.
What is TNR? TNR stands for Trap-Neuter-Release. It is a humane and effective way to tackle the feline population.
How does it work? As strays are not used to human contact and handling, a humane trap is used to secure the cat. This requires time, effort, coordination and a lot of patience from the volunteers, especially during the summer months.
Once the cats are secure, they are bought to one of the veterinary clinics who are part of the TNR programme, such as Petzone Veterinary Clinic where they either spayed or neutered.
The cats then spend time in the clinic where they recover until they’re ready to be released back to their colony.
If you’ve seen a feral cat with the tip of one of its ears snipped off, that’s a sign it’s been neutered or spayed.
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How does this help? By spaying or neutering the cats, the population is managed as the number of litters within the colonies reduces. Eventually, the overall size of colonies will decrease over time.
The TNR method also helps control diseases within the colonies. Clinics are able to test and track the spread of viruses such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus, improving the health of the general population.
Who’s involved in TNR? Several charities and individuals in the UAE participate in TNR programs including 38 Smiles and the Humane Animal Rescue Team. This year alone, 240 TNR procedures in cats have already been carried out at Petzone Veterinary Clinic.