HERMITAGE – Tails of Hope held a free TNR spay/neuter day on Nov. 9 for cats in the community at the Thomas M. O’Brien Animal Care Center in Hermitage. The event was held in honor of Dr. Jennifer L. Turner.

“Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR for short, is the humane approach to controlling feral cat overpopulation. It’s a community-based program that involves concerned citizens trapping free-roaming cats in your neighborhood, bringing them to a clinic like Tails of Hope to get them spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then returning the cats to the exact location where they were trapped so they can live out the rest of their natural lives, ideally with a caregiver also providing food, water and shelter for them,” explained Soraya Hejazi, Executive Director of Tails of Hope. “While under anesthesia, the cats also receive an ear-tip – a painless procedure in which the tip of the left ear is removed – a universal sign they have been part of a TNR program.”

There exists in Mercer County a large population of homeless stray and feral cats. Given their strong survival capabilities and prolific breeding, if nothing is done, this population will simply continue to grow. If the population is left unchecked, it will only lead to more and more cats living in unmanaged colonies, a decrease in public tolerance of homeless cats, and increased pressure on the environment, animal control agencies and our society as a whole.

TNR is a community-based program and its success depends on many. A mixture of ten dedicated non-profit groups and individual citizens successfully trapped and transported a total of 71 cats from Greenville, New Castle, Grove City, Sharpsville, Mercer and Masury to Tails of Hope at the Thomas M. O’Brien Animal Care Center in Hermitage for spay/neuter and vaccination services on Nov. 9. These services were completed by a 15-person team consisting of Tails of Hope employees, volunteers, and veterinary clinic staff. The impact of this event can be calculated with a lot of multiplication: cat colonies can quickly quadruple in size in a very short period of time, as cats can have two to three litters per year of five to six kittens each, and then those kittens can become pregnant at about six months of age, and so the cycle continues.

“We are indebted to The John and Judy Turner Family and The Glenn and Jean Harnett Private Charitable Foundation for supporting this TNR event. We are extremely grateful for the concerned citizens who trap, transport, and return the cats; the caretakers who provide food, shelter, and oversight for the cats; and to our caring and generous volunteers. We could not complete our mission without all of them,” said Hejazi.

Tails of Hope is seeking to build partnerships with individuals and groups in the community to increase Trap-Neuter-Return efforts that will decrease the number of homeless cats in our community and reduce needless pain and suffering and save cats’ lives at the least cost to the public.

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