Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    Posted 22 days ago

    Hello~

    We are receiving a lot of pushback from staff and volunteers regarding community cats with white markings or those that are solid white. They are concerned about the risk of cancer and are hesitant to return these cats to their outdoor environments. 
     
    I would like to know what others think about this.  I don't want to remove a cat solely because it has more white fur and take a kennel away from a cat that truly needs it. Additionally, I don't want to bring in a cat that chooses to live its life outside. 
    Thanks!

    #CommunityCatManagement

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    Jessica Wiebe
    Executive Director
    ASAP Cats
    CA
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  • 2.  RE: White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    Posted 21 days ago

    Hello!

    Personally I would say that the color of the cat should probably be the lower priority consideration when deciding whether to TNR or try to adopt out. There are other factors such as personality, age, other health considerations, etc that should be prioritized way above.

    Are these community cats true ferals? Or are they friendlier outdoor cats/strays? True feral cats over the age of 6 months can be incredibly hard to socialize enough to be adopted out as pets. It's not impossible, just very very difficult and requires lots of resources and lots of time. You have to ask yourselves, "Is it worth it to put this cat through weeks/months of stress, trying maybe socialize it, while keeping it in an environment it is not comfortable/happy being in?" If the answer is No, then releasing the cat may the best option for it. If the answer is Yes, it has shown potential for wanting human interaction then it may be worth giving it a couple weeks before making a decision.

    How old are these cats? Are they tiny kittens? Chances are you've got a good shot at socializing them and can successfully adopt them out as pets fairly easily. Is it a senior kitty? Depending on it's overall health maybe you consider adopting it out to a barn home where you know it will be protected/cared for but can still live as an independent outdoor cat.

    Is the cat's current overall health good? As long as the cat doesn't have any major medical issues (missing a leg, declawed, zero teeth left) then it's perfectly fine to let it live its life the way it wants, even if that means releasing it back. If the cat isn't in good health, and it shows aggression/no desire for human interaction, then I would strongly consider again finding either a barn home or humane euthanasia. Trying to treat chronic medical conditions in feral cats typically causes more problems than it solves. Also keep in mind that the more treatments you try to do on feral cats, the more stress it will cause, which can in turn lead to additional health issues. So is it worth it?

    Overall, I would try to have everyone consider ALL of the angles. Weigh the pros and cons for each individual cat, because the solution is not one size (or one color) fits all!

    Hope that helps!



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    Riley Bailey
    Spay & Neuter Clinic Manger
    Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter
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  • 3.  RE: White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 21 days ago
    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous

    Do they have any scientific research showing that this is an issue? Why would a white cat be more likely to get cancer anyway? 




  • 4.  RE: White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    Posted 21 days ago

    To answer your question, yes because of the lack of protective pigmentation white animals have an increased risk of develop squamous cell carcinoma. It's similar to how humans with fairer skin tend to be more prone to skin cancers if exposed to UV rays. 

    However, it's almost impossible to prevent in animals because sunscreen will just be licked off, and there really aren't many preventative measures that can be taken. Even indoor cats will sit in windowsills and be exposed, so keeping community cats inside as opposed to releasing them won't be 100% effective.

    The good news is feral cats tend to lean more towards being nocturnal. They avoid human interaction and prefer to be more active at nighttime, and hidden away during the daytime. 



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    Riley Bailey
    Spay & Neuter Clinic Manger
    Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter
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  • 5.  RE: White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    Posted 21 days ago

    Hi Jessica;

         When I think about TNR - we are just "borrowing the cat" for 24 hrs to get the cat sterilized to end the reproductive capacity of the colony.  We are looking at the health of that cat in that particular moment in time.  There are many risk factors at play for community cats and I agree that many cats are more nocturnal and stay out of sunlight etc.  So I would focus resources on getting the cats 100% sterilized vs using adoption resources for these cats.   But this is a fascinating topic that I hadn't really thought about. 



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    Stacy LeBaron
    Head Cat
    The Community Cats Podcast
    Warren VT
    978-239-2090
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  • 6.  RE: White cats or with white markings~ TNR practices

    Posted 18 days ago

    We have some folks in our area too, that won't TNR white or light colored cats, which we disagree with. In fact, we have TNRd a colony with at least 6 white cats, all were sterilized and returned. 
    That being said, many of our colonies are urban colonies with active caregivers. Our clinic requires the caregiver to make the appointments and continue to feed them, so they are cared for. We also help provide additional or follow on medical care if something starts to go wrong with a TNRd colony we have helped sterilize. That means our caregivers are attentive to their cats. If anyone starts to show signs of cancer (or other health issues) through weight loss, masses or scabby type issues, we will retrap and get medical care. 
    We also get some pushback on returning some semiferal cats to our colonies depending on their color pattern. Seal Points, Lynx Points, Calicos - people say we should try to tame them (again, we disagree) but nobody says that about the tabbys, tuxedos, or black cats. All our actions our dependent on the behavior and situation of the cats, but we promote TNR.



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    Karen Jealous
    PDX Cat Trapper
    Portland OR
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