HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Maui Humane Society has released instructions on how residents can help curb the cat overpopulation.
In many cases, cats are detrimental to native species populations. While cats are good to counter an overpopulation of rats, their numbers can overwhelm an already fragile ecosystem.
According to the Maui Humane Society, “Trap, Neuter, Return is the humane and successful approach to addressing community cat populations. It saves cats’ lives and is effective in slowly diminishing population numbers, by preventing the vacuum effect.”
The vacuum effect posits that it is futile to catch and destroy/remove felines since once a group of felines are removed, their absence will allow for an influx of felines from another area or be repopulated by feline survivor offspring.
“TNR not only stops the breeding cycle but allows community cats to continue protecting their established territories. TNR allows for peaceful coexistence between cats and humans in a shared environment,” explained MHS.
Also, MHS said that February is kitten month. This month, you will probably notice an influx of kittens. There are some things you can do to ensure that the kittens are safe and that TNR can be utilized.
- If the kittens are dirty, thin, cold or injured, then their mother is not able to care for them. So, please, contact a local vet or take them to a local shelter.
- If you find kittens in a dangerous area, then move them out of danger but not far away from where you find them. Their mother will find them, and she will not care if your scent is on them.
- If the kittens you find are old enough to run and play and seem to be taking care of themselves, then this is the perfect time to TNR. When you return them, take them back to where you found them.
- If you find wobbly, tiny babies alone, then you have a couple of options. You want their mother to return, but you do not know if she will. You can pour a ring of baking flour around the kittens and leave them for 12 hours.
- If you see a paw print in the flour, then you know their mother is overseeing them. Make a plan to TNR the entire family when the kittens are older.
- If you don’t see paw prints in the flower, then you’ll need to foster them or locate someone who can. MHS can help with this.
- Utilize TNR when possible.
Cats have lived side-by-side with humans for millennia. They are a part of our eco systems, but we have to step up to ensure that our system is balanced.