FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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What is TNRM?

Trap-Neuter-Return-Manage is the only humane, effective approach for feral cats. Community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home where a caretaker provides regular food, water and shelter. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap-Neuter-Return improves their lives and their relationship with the community: behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop.


Why don’t you remove all the cats and place them in homes? 

Sadly, until we can dramatically reduce their numbers, there are far more cats and kittens than space in shelters and rescues to house them or indoor homes available for them. In addition, as long as food is present (including dumpsters, natural resources and other garbage receptacles), cats from expanding colonies nearby spread into the available space.


Why doesn’t removing a feral cat from an area work?

Animal control’s old traditional approach for feral cats—catching and killing—is endless and cruel, and it does not keep an area free of cats. Cats choose to reside in a location for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. Because of a phenomenon called the vacuum effect, when cats are removed from a location, survivors of the catch and kill effort and new cats who have moved in breed to capacity. Cats have been living outside alongside people for 10,000 years—a fact that cannot be changed.


Why not just round up all the cats and kill them? 

Even without regard to the ethical considerations, trapping and killing simply doesn’t work! In virtually all settings, cats can reproduce far faster than efforts to eradicate them and cats from nearby colonies move into the open territory. Additionally, members of the public frequently sabotage eradication efforts and the high cost of trapping and killing exceeds the community’s will to fund it.


Don’t cats kill a lot of wildlife? 

Some free-roaming domestic cats, including indoor-outdoor pets, will kill wildlife. In the absence of sufficient and regular food, free-roaming cats generally kill wildlife only in order to survive or teach their young how to survive. Their success in this regard has been grossly overestimated by some well-meaning wildlife advocates. In our experience, few cats can survive by hunting wildlife though they can contribute to rodent control in some settings. Nonetheless, by reducing the population of free-roaming cats, we are helping to create less of a need for food, reducing stress on other species. Remember, killing fixed cats doesn't work -  more (unfixed) cats will take their place and begin the reproduction process all over again.


How many litters do Maui cats have each year? 

The absence of harsh winters and having no natural predators, cats throughout Maui are able to breed out of control. Scientific studies and opinions indicate that a female cat can have six to eight kittens per year. With  this simple formula, 2 cats can turn into 20 in just one year. This is why Spaying and Neutering are VITAL in Saving Maui's homeless cats.


It's not my cat, so why should I have it fixed? 

Reducing the number of feral cats and managing their care is the goal of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNRM.) Life is especially hard for feral cats who are not managed through TNRM. They are constantly searching for food in dumpsters and garbage cans and may be hunting birds and other wildlife with or without success. They may also be fed by kind-hearted people who don’t spay and neuter the cats. These people mean well, but they don’t realize that the cats should be spayed and neutered as soon as possible.


Free-roaming cats, both feral and stray, are the most significant source of cat overpopulation. 


Feeding Bans

The logic behind feeding bans is that if no one feeds free-roaming cats, the cats will go away. This rarely works because there may be more than one feeder, feeders will resist, enforcement is difficult and unpopular with caring citizens, and there are other sources of food, including dumpsters, garbage cans, and wildlife. Feral cats are territorial animals who can survive for weeks without food and will not easily or quickly leave their territory to search for new food sources. Instead, they tend to move closer to homes and businesses as they grow hungrier and more desperate. In addition, the cats will continue to reproduce despite the effort to "starve them out," resulting in the visible deaths of many kittens.


We all want the same thing - 

less cats on Maui

TNRM has been proven to be the most effective strategy to ending cat overpopulation in more than 500 major cities worldwide.  Though we still have a ways to go, Save Maui Cats is committed to being part of the solution.


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