Palm Beach Island Cats (PBIC) chooses to help the colonies of feral cats on our island by implementing the nationally accepted and proven effective process of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR offers the greatest chance of success both for the residents and the cats. This involves trapping the cats in a colony, having them spay/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, immunized against disease and marked for identification before returning the ferals to their territory. Caretakers daily provide food and water and monitor the colony for any newcomers or other problems.
At its essence, TNR is not about rescuing cats. It's about population control and permanently reducing the number of feral cats in an area. It's not about getting a wonderful cat a great home. It is about lowering stray intake and euthanasia rates, reducing costs for animal control, and creating a better and less hostile environment for the cats. In addition, spay/neuter of the cats eliminates common nuisance behaviors, such as yowling and foul odors, and vaccinating them for rabies and immunizing them against disease provides a public health benefit.
One of the most common sources of hostility towards feral cats is from people who don’t’ want them in their yards, gardens or other parts of their property.
President’s first response is "Relocate!", PBIC responds with not so fast. Not only is this time-consuming and uncertain, but it is assuredly not in the best interest of the neighborhood. By removing a feral colony, there is a vacuum created where new cats will quickly move in. The food source remains that created the colony in the first place; the food source is there based on the number of dumpsters of residences and businesses. This is the problem of the trap-and-remove approach -- people are just trading one colony for another. Secondly, feral cats are extremely territorial and have deep ties to their original homes. So more often than not, the cats will return to the same area thereby doubling the number of cats in the area. And lastly, the largest obstacle to relocation is the question of "where" -- there are only so many barns and sanctuaries in this country!!
Understanding the benefit of stabilized colonies has taken years of research and experience. Yet it remains a mystery to most residents. Inherent in the cat is a territorial instinct to protect its food source and locale. Therefore, a colony will limit itself to the number of cats the food source will support. Newcomers are unwelcome and will be fought off. The resident cats become very close and build bonds providing themselves socialization and interaction, and obnoxious behaviors cease. Stabilizing a colony allows PBIC to concentrate efforts for successful TNR implementation ensuring every cat in the colony has been sterilized. Residents can watch the colony slowly die out with attrition because the birth rate is zero; resident cats fade away with age. And residents can rest well at night knowing PBIC is monitoring the cats daily to ensure they are healthy and vaccinated while the cats continue to control the rodents so plentiful to waterfront living.
PBIC does not ask the community to embrace the ferals. But PBIC does ask for residents’ cooperation while the volunteers, colony caretakers and Directors work to make a difference in the community. Anyone who wants assistance with unwanted cats on their property is asked to call 561-512-4884 and talk with Wink (Field Director).