By Donita Casey
Feral cats choose to reside in a location for two reasons: food source (intended or not) and shelter. Killing or relocating feral cats may temporarily (short term) reduce the number in a given area but the intact survivors continue to breed and other cats move into the now-available territory. This is a phenomenon known as the vacuum effect.
Trap-Neuter-Return is a practice that involves humanely trapping, spaying/neutering and returning them to their outdoor home/territory. The colony’s population stabilizes and behaviors (yowling, fighting, spraying) are dramatically decreased. If you are doing TNR, or already feeding (intended or not) and would like to learn more, there is information, and financial help available.
Friends of the Shelter, Inc. has partnered for Benton County with Animal Resource Foundation and Iowa Humane Alliance on a special project (long term) to reduce the number of free-roaming cats in our communities. Please note that this particular offer is not for owned cats living in the home. TNR cats will be ear tipped while under anesthesia so they can be identified by the public as altered.
You can pick up a financial assistance application at Friends of the Shelter, Inc. 211 W. 4th St in Vinton (Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-7) or email VintonFOTSI@yahoo.com a request to have one mailed to you.
You can also download an application at  www.arfiowa.org
Information of low cost services for companion animals and also information about TNR can be found at www.iowahumanealliance.org