Mews & Views

Mews & Views -- A blog for cat lovers everywhere with a focus on the low-income pet cats of northern and central New Mexico.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Expanding our spay/neuter umbrella to include managed feral cat colonies.

For the last five years our free spay/neuter assistance has focused exclusively on lower-income individual and family pet cats.  And this is with good reason.  Pet cats in this demographic rarely come from shelters that fix the cats before placing them – the adoption fees are prohibitive.  So instead they get their cats the “old-fashioned” way – finding strays on the street or taking kittens from litters of other low-income homes with unfixed cats.  

And – just as they can’t afford an adoption fee, they can’t afford to fix the cats even at a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.  So they wait to save the money – or if they have a mix of cats – fix only the females (or males) and before they know it their cats get pregnant or start spraying and they can no longer tolerate living with them.  When this happens the cat(s) are abandoned outdoors (where they join feral cat colonies and continue reproducing) or are given to animal control shelters (where they are often put down for lack of immediate homes).    Empowering low-income caregivers to fix their cats quickly (by providing free and local spay/neuter) prevents these tragedies from happening – and makes a significant dent in the number of kittens born each year. 

Yet what about the cats that are already abandoned and living in outdoor colonies – shouldn't they be fixed too?  Yes.  And now we've established a separate ManagedTNR (trap-neuter-return) Program to address the special needs of fixing these outdoor cats.    Unlike our low-income voucher program that works directly with pet cat guardians, the TNR program seeks other non-profit groups working in our 10-county area* that can coordinate the live-trapping and transporting of feral cats to vet clinics for surgery.  The program is simple to use and we’ve posted all of the information including registration forms to our web site: 

For a practical guide on feral cat care, read our handbook:  Managing a Feral Cat Colony.    It gives you everything you need to know to care for outdoor cats.

*New Mexico counties of Bernalillo, Catron, Colfax, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, and Valencia.

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