There have been some good things going on for cats in Fayette County, Georgia. Typically shelters in Georgia take a catch and kill approach to feral cats in order to keep the populations down. However, Fayette County Humane Society in collaboration with county officials has been conducting an experiment with their feral cats. Instead of killing them, they catch them, neuter/spay them then release them back into the wild. This more humane and cheap alternative to animal control has led to some not altogether surprising success.
This form of animal control is becoming popular all over the world, but for those who have not adopted it yet, it is proving more beneficial than the traditional methods. In Fayette County, Georgia it has also had a positive response. The TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program costs zero tax dollars to the county and is beneficial to the ecosystem. Shelters are often packed full of adoptable felines, but feral cats are not often suitable for adoption, thus they are generally killed. Feral cats are often seen as sickly, needy and helpless, but that is far from the truth. They thrive in Georgia's ecosystem in both communities and independently, keeping mice and larger pests populations down. By clipping the tip of the ears of cats that have underwent this program, locals know not to call animal control when they spot a feral cat because it is already in a home, the great outdoors.
A surprising outcome of this program is that many of these feral cats often get adopted. In many cases, locals bond with the cats. Giving them affection and food when they are around, but most times leaving them outdoors. However, some locals, those who are not at all looking for a new pet, bond with the cats so much they adopt them into their homes. Sometimes, love just finds a way into the heart regardless of circumstance. Being confronted with a cute furry face when you least expect it has proven to be the perfect tool for adoptions. Even if they cats don't work out, as feral cats often take work to make into indoor cats, they can be placed back outside instead of returned to packed shelters.
This shining example of the TNR program has caught the attention of other counties in Georgia, many of whom are looking to expand into the program as well now.