After years of complaints, Freehold Borough is establishing a trap-neuter-release program for feral cats; and they need volunteers to make it work. In a 4-1 vote Monday, the borough council approved a plan to be implemented in 2023. 
The program will involve residents volunteering to be caretakers of certain feral cat colonies. They would find and trap the strays, help get them neutered and vaccinated, and then release them back into the borough. 
These volunteers will be known as “community cat sitters” and the mayor is hopeful. 

(Photo: Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)
(Photo: Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)

“We’ll see if it works,” Mayor Kevin Kane said. “It’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and we’re going to try. We need them to account for and document these colonies.” 
I’ve written about these TNR programs before. Is it really humane to let an animal simply return to homelessness where it has to fight for food, brave harsh winters, and possibly die slowly and painfully from car accidents or tussles with wildlife rather than humanely? 
And are these programs truly effective? There are studies concluding they not only are ineffective at reducing the feral cat population but can actually cause them to increase. 

Stray Cats (Wayne Low, Unsplash)
Stray Cats (Wayne Low, Unsplash)

It's been estimated there are as many as 2 million feral cats in New Jersey. As the study indicates, trapping and neutering enough of them to outpace their reproducing is a dubious proposition. 
It's also ironic to me that many of these "community cat sitter" volunteers will likely be some of the same people who added to the problem to begin with by feeding strays and keeping them healthy enough to reproduce over and over again. 

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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