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Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release Week

kisluvkis [Flickr]

Cats that have been neutered or spayed as part of a TNR program will have one ear "tipped".  The veterinarian will trim the tip of an ear so that if the cat is picked up in the future it can easily be identified as a one that has already had the surgery.


Students in a University of Alabama psychology class have been working with high school and middle school students this week to bring attention to the importance of T-N-R or “Trap-Neuter-Release” as a cost-effective and humane way to deal with feral cats and reduce their population.

The students are part of On All Fours, a group led by University professor Dr. Jeff Parker. Their first step was to get the mayors of Tuscaloosa and Northport to declare this week as “Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release” week. They created banners and artwork, and asked merchants around town to display the artwork and posters to get the message out to the community.

There are an estimated six thousand feral cats living in places like storm pipes, alleys, basements, and fields around Tuscaloosa and Northport. Feral cats don’t make good pets and research has shown that trapping and euthanizing the animals does little to stem the problem, because other cats move in to take their place.

The students hope to encourage community support for the efforts of organizations like the Tuscaloosa Spay Neuter Incentive Program (or TSNIP) whose volunteers have trapped hundreds of the cats, working with local veterinarians to have them spayed or neutered, and returning them to the location where they were found. The altered cats become better neighbors as they are less aggressive, less destructive, and won’t reproduce.

The students of On All Fours have held information booths this “Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release” week, including one on the Alabama campus and another in downtown Northport. Last night TSNIP held a TNR Block “Purr”ty to celebrate the week and recognize the efforts of the middle school, high school and college students along with the many volunteers who work to support the feral cats. Today, the students will host a booth amidst the tailgating for the A-Day game.

If you live in the Tuscaloosa or Northport area and would like to help, you can make a contribution to TSNIP at, or sign up to volunteer. Outside the area, support or encourage T-N-R efforts in your community. It makes a better neighborhood for all the residents, especially when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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