The good news is that trap, neuter, release seems to be working , the bad news is that more cats are apparently in need of TNR and are being given up to shelters.
This story focuses the general Austin area in Central Texas, according to Statesman.com. Many agree this trend is generally true around America, likely the economy plays a major role.
For example, Town Lake Animal Center in Texas received 9,249 cats and kittens last year, 31
percent more than in 2009. The Williamson County Regional Animal
Shelter saw a 42 percent increase in cats and kittens last year, and
the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter received 37 percent more cats
and kittens at its facility. Some of those animals were euthanized,
mostly because of health or behavioral issues; others were adopted or
transferred to other animal rescue facilities.
At least these shelters have not seen a notable increase in dogs, however. I don't know if that is true for the rest of the country....It seems that some places have witnessed an increase in dogs, others have not.
Of course, outdoor cats who are unaltered will reproduce, and fast.
It's thought favorable weather in Texas has played a role in allowing outdoor cats to flourish. Of course, this doesn't answer the question for Chicago or places where the weather hasn't been so favorable.
The cat story in Statesman.com is another in a series of stories in the popular press to mention public complaints about cats...."Too many cats running around can lead to nuisances
such as destroyed flower beds, scratched vehicles and loud meowing at
night. They can also carry rabies."
This is why I am a fan of trap, neuter, return (click continue reading)
Feral cats in colonies are spayed or neutered, and vaccinated for rabies
(in some places also microchipped and even treated for fleas). No
longer able to reproduce, when caretakers oversee colonies, new
additions are also de-sexed.
Taking colony cats and placing them into shelters - unless they are
previously owned and friendly cats - is a waste of shelter space. Feral
cats can rarely be adopted as quality pets (and why would you, since so
many friendly cats are available), so they are euthanized (which does
have a cost associated with it). Trapping and euthanizing takes up
valuable resources, and besides, it's never worked. TNR is our best bet!
There's good news too: Compared with 2009, the number of cats adopted last year
increased at the Town Lake shelter by 34 percent , to 2,833 , and at
the Williamson County shelter by 43 percent , to 1,253 . Adoptions, however,
dropped at the San Marcos shelter by 32 percent , to 111, last year.
(thanks to Dr. Jane Brunt, CATalyst Council, for this post)