Happy National Feral Cat Day! Remembering the First TNR’d Cats In My Yard

Starting in 2004, I learned about TNR from Alley Cat Allies and trapped a few cats. They were mostly mother cats with their kittens, so I brought them inside to be socialized and admitted into shelters.

Then in 2005, as I was trying to trap a very sick cat, I trapped Bobcat instead, and he ended up being the first cat I initially TNR’d, trapped, neutered, and returned outside.

He looked like a Bobcat, down to his stubby tail. bobcat's tail

Along with Bobcat, I also TNR’d a dozen other cats in my yard, including Magic, a grey male, and Princess, a female white/brown tabby.

The three of them bonded, and were my first real colony.  Bobcat, Magic and Princess

I never fed cats in my yard initially. The colonies formed after the cats were TNR’d.

Since they hung out in my yard all the time, of course I now fed them, but we did not have much shelter. I made one Rubbermaid bin shelter, but they would only lay on top of it. Princess and Bobcat on their bin I worried about them that winter. My backyard was only grass at the time and there was no cover for them.

Magic on the owl statue My next door neighbor had an old open garage that had some bedding for them, and she turned on a heat lamp for them at night.

When summer came, I started experimenting with the garden, and the colony continued to spend their days in my yard. Bobcat and Princess in the garden

Bobcat and Magic by the garage When fall came, Magic started coughing. Because they were bonded to me at this point, I was able to get all three of them into separate carriers and take them to the vet.

Magic and Princess tested FIV+/FeLV+. My neighbor, the one who had the heat lamp for them in her garage, adopted them. Princess and Magic indoors

Unfortunately, because Magic was symptomatic, he died six months after being brought inside.

Bobcat tested FIV+, and I fostered him until he was admitted to PAWS Chicago and adopted within a few weeks.

I’ve learned a lot since then and am so grateful that TNR is becoming more popular and known as it the most humane way to control the cat population. It is the only way I could have helped Bobcat, Magic and Princess.


Nancy Blanchard says:

Hi Vanessa,

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on my Facebook account. Your entries here are fantastic! You’re doing an awesome job! The cats on your block are very very fortunate.

Take care and I’ll have to visit the Cats in my Yard paypal site!

Vanessa says:

Thank you for the kind words, Nancy! The cats around here have a lot of caring neighbors that agree TNR is the most effective and humane solution to ultimately reduce the outdoor cat population, and contribute to their colony management.

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