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Desex-and-return is an effective strategy


C.A.T.S. supports the desex-and-return policy for management of free-roaming cats. This involves humanely trapping the animals, who are then examined by a vet and desexed, before being returned to their original territory once they have recovered. Volunteers regularly feed the cats, monitor them for illness, and trap any undesexed immigrants that join the group. It is important to realise that these are managedcolonies.

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) in the U.K. has also adopted desex-and-return as its policy on feral cat control (1): "UFAW considers that population control by neutering is a humane method of dealing with groups of feral cats. It has been shown that schemes based on trapping, neutering, marking by ear-tipping and returning to managed sites can be effective in the long run."

In the US, the American Association of Feline Practitioners has said (2): “The AAFP supports appropriately managed cat colonies. Humane alternatives to the destruction of healthy cats for animal control purposes should be actively pursued by veterinary, humane and wildlife organisations. Such alternatives include increased sterilisation and humane education.”

Italy has had a no-kill policy (trap-neuter-return) for community cats since 1991, based on the following rationale (3): “TNR programs are considered the most practical, effective and humane way for controlling free-roaming cats because they are intended to decrease reproduction without causing harm to the cats. Moreover, only TNR programs encounter the approval and, thus, the cooperation of cat care-takers.”