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.
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.
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. I worried about them that winter. My backyard was only grass at the time and there was no cover for them.
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.