Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR)

Many colonies of feral cats have formed on Lamma around food sources such as refuse collection points and restaurants. In addition some are fed by kind individuals.

The lives of these cats are hard and short, filled with fear, hunger and disease. Life expectancy is no more than three years. It is particularly hard for a female as she spends most of her life pregnant or nursing. Illnesses, parasites, injuries and human malice claim the lives of most of her kittens but those that survive continue the circle.

Not only do these cats suffer but they act as a reservoir for disease and the sight of sick and dying animals is distressing. Catching and killing or poisoning feral animals is costly but ineffective as those killed are quickly replaced - quite apart from the suffering inflicted on the animals.

Eradication programmes have a very poor record of success worldwide.

A particular problem on Lamma is created by people who leave the island and abandon their companion animals, supposing that they can survive in the wild.

In fact, domestic cats and dogs generally cannot fend for themselves, live in confusion and die slowly from malnutrition and disease. Meanwhile they may well breed if they are not neutered. In addition domestic animals from other areas are often brought to outlying islands and dumped there by owners who no longer want them or are not permitted to keep them in their apartments.
The LAP TNR Programme
With the generous veterinarian support of Dr. Hans De Vries and HKSPCA and in cooperation with AFCD, a programme of “Trap/Neuter/Release” (TNR) has been set up to address the problem in a humane and cost-effective way. The goal is to achieve a stable population of healthy non-breeding animals.

Targeting one colony at a time, the cats are fed and watered daily, then trapped individually, treated, vaccinated, sterilised and either released back into the colony or fostered and homed whenever this is feasible. The first targeted colony was estimated to have been producing around 50 kittens per season, beyond a sustainable level.

These died of disease and hunger, often lost or were abandoned by people around refuse collection points. Some of these may have been imported into the area by people who then would not take responsibility for them or whose domestic cats had given birth to unwanted kittens. Since the programme was initiated this has been reduced to four a year. The improvement in the general health of the colony is plain to see. Similar results have been achieved with other colonies. LAP continues to provide food and water after release.

To avoid repetition, treated cats have one ear clipped while anaesthetised. This heals rapidly and, as the hair grown back, in not visible/noticeable except at close range.

The TNR treatment clearly does not traumatise the cats. On the contrary, one of the main difficulties in achieving 100% treatment of fertile cats in a colony is that graduates of the programme return confidently to the traps for a safe meal.

We operate on cats from 2 months and older as it is better to do it before sexual maturity. We advocate EARLY AGE SPAY AND NEUTER.
While TNR is a compassionate and pragmatic solution to the feral cat overpopulation problem, the unacceptable conditions in which a feral cat must survive bear no comparison with adoption by a loving home. LAP makes every effort to find homes for friendly cats and to foster kittens until this can be arranged.

Where a cat has been injured or maimed it is not returned to the colony in that condition.
The Sick and Injured
The very first cat trapped by LAP had been horribly abused. She had 3rd degree burns to 40% of her skin.

We worked to save her and now she is a gorgeous and happily homed cat. Sadly, every decision on whether to attempt to save the life of an animal is a compromise between her chances of survival and money available. LAP will continue to give every animal a chance as far as our resources allow.
Spay or neuter your own cat.

The value of the TNR programmed is clear but the other main sources of abandoned animals must be stopped. Breeding by feral animals is only part of the problem, we must all spay and neuter our own companion animals so that uncontrolled breeding and accidental pregnancy do not lead to more unwanted kittens.
Donate food or money for trapping or maintenance. Contribute to the cost of maintaining the treated colonies. LAP has no funding from official sources and depends entirely on the generosity of people like you both for money and for practical help.
Identify a colony you would like to care for. We will help you trap and sterilise them.
Donate to help with transport costs. We and the cats must travel by ferry and taxi.
Foster an injured or young cat. This is a short term and very rewarding experience. All the love with no long term commitment, and the pleasure of knowing you have saved a life.
Adopt one of the rescued, kittens or friendly cats.
LAP promotes Humane Education by giving talks, showing videos and presentations in schools, companies and individual gatherings. LAP believes that kindness, respect and responsibility must be part of education in our community.
LAP Video