Thank you Forest Park Review for giving good coverage to TNR (trap, neuter and return) as the best way to manage the ever increasing number of street/feral cats. I’m very pleased that the Village of Forest Park has acknowledged the issue and has adopted a feral cat ordinance based on the trap, neuter and return process, which has proved effective and is practiced worldwide.

As a former resident of Forest Park, I had TNRed a colony of nine cats living in the alley behind my house in 2006. I was supported in my efforts by my neighbors who enjoyed watching the cats and knew they where keeping other nuisance animals away. My neighbors also recognized the importance of containing the size of the colony. The Forest Park Review also ran a story. I mention this because the issue of street cats is not new. It is, however, becoming a growing issue because of the current economy. Once owned pets are being abandoned as people are losing jobs and houses are being foreclosed. While in general pet owners are responsible and have their pets altered, it only takes a few unaltered pets that are abandoned or left to roam to keep the reproduction cycle revolving.

C.A.T. S. is the latest community group to address the issue in Forest Park and is to be congratulated for their efforts. As a newcomer to the scene, they are joining other organizations such as CatVando in Maywood, Feral Fixers in Downers Grove, ChicagolandStrays, plus many individuals who have been practicing TNR for many years.

However, the issue must become a community supported action to be truly effective with education and public awareness constantly. That is why I’m pleased that the Review gave the story good coverage and hope that more stories and information about street/feral cats, responsible pet ownership and the importance of spay/neuter, etc. will be ongoing with the community newspapers.

Cats don’t recognize city limits nor are they found only in lower economic neighborhoods. Left to natural instincts, cats will continue to produce litter after litter. Well meaning individuals who feed two or three stays may soon find there are now eight to 12 strays in six months and more as time goes on. TNR is humane, effective and cost efficient when done regularly and systematically.

The TNR process requires the identification of feeders to locate cat colonies, trappers and transporters, not to mention the financial support of individuals, businesses and local government. Trust and confidentiality are critical components to the process. The community is fortunate to have three spay/neuter clinics that serve the area.

The Forest Park Review, along with other community newspapers, can play a very important role by helping to educate communities about street/feral cats and the TNR process. And there is much that can be written about the process such as the importance of micro chipping and ear tipping, or that TNR organizations can be found in Mexico City, Rome and other major cities worldwide. Awareness is key because street/feral cats is a community issue and must be recognized as such.

Kudos to all the caring individuals and organizations that continue to address the street cat population humanely through TNR.

Sue Bohenstengel
Camp Verde, AZ