By Nicole Marchione

Can you imagine streets filled with hundreds of roaming cats? This is what you should envision will happen if a Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return (TNVR)  program is not put in place in municipalities such as my own city of Linden. Our streets will not only be covered in roaming cats, but possibly their lifeless bodies as well. In order to avoid these consequences, residents should contact their mayors and representatives on council to get a TNVR program started, or else communities will be over-run by a never ending cycle of cat colonies. 

A Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return program will end the continuous cycle of community cats procreating. TNVR can eliminate the overpopulation of cats in our communities.  In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens. Without the proper neutering of cats, they will only begin to procreate more. Such a program like TNVR will end this cycle through connecting and involving the community at-large. Residents of communities who are aware of cat colonies should notify the municipalities which will allow one of two things to happen. The resident can either choose to be a caregiver of the cats or give over the responsibility to the municipality or other volunteers. If the resident chooses to be a caregiver, they would be supplied with a trap. However, if the municipality takes control, then they would handle the trapping of the community cats. Then, the cats will be brought to a local veterinarian to be neutered. When neutered, the community cats go through a process called ear-tipping, which helps the community keep track of the cats that are neutered. Once the cats who have been neutered are fully recovered, they return to the area they inhabit.

Some may state that the better option is to trap the cats and keep them in shelters. However, this method has been proven to be ineffective time and time again. This method will only cause an overpopulation of cats in our shelters, which will lead to the euthanasia of hundred of cats. 

In the United States approximately 25,000 healthy cats die in shelters each day awaiting the adoption that never comes. Fortunately, prevention is simple: spay/neuter. Placing these animals in shelters is not only inhumane, but costly as well. Keeping the shelters open, which includes the cost of electricity, food, staff, etcetera, plus the cost of euthanasia, out-costs the price of neutering community cats. A price quote listed by the Humane Society estimates that TNVR could cost as low as $25 per cat. This may seem costly, but many clinics offer group pricing for municipalities. By going this route, TNVR would decrease the amount municipalities spend on animal control in the long run. 

A TNVR program will not only cost less, but will help limit any nuisances or health hazards in our community. Community cats wander about wherever they please, giving them plenty of opportunities to get into trouble. A Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return program will stop cats from having offspring which would then stop the high occurrence of damage happening from overpopulation. Chances of disease are increased when community cats puke, mark their territories, and even defecate wherever they want. Neutered animals are less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases that are spread through bodily fluids. This will lessen the chance of any disease spreading to humans.  

A Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate Return program makes the most sense for communities throughout the my hometown of Linden, I know first-hand that residents are compassionate and dedicated to making Linden a great city for all. TNVR will help limit the amount of community cats in our neighborhoods which would then decrease the nuisance community cats add to our community.  In addition, the amount spent on animal control and euthanasia will decrease. The chance of disease to be spread will decrease as well. New Jersey citizens, we can establish a  Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return program in every municipality by passing S1034/A4399.  Take action here: . 


About the Author: Nicole Marchione wrote the following article in our, Social Movements: A Call To Action course at Kean University. Nicole graduated Kean University in 2020 with a degree in Political Science.