2. Build your “people power.”
Hire or appoint a feral cat coordinator.
Having a staff member/volunteer responsible for feral cat protocols and information within the organization is a great way to jump-start a Trap-Neuter-Return program. This person would be responsible for educating the rest of the organization on protocols, including how to respond to the public regarding feral cats. This person would also:
- Create and implement humane protocols for feral cats.
- Educate and train volunteers/staff on Trap-Neuter-Return protocol and trapping techniques.
- Create and manage local trap depots so that residents can borrow traps for use in Trap-Neuter-Return.
- Determine target areas for Trap-Neuter-Return based on phone calls from the public.
- Coordinate targeted trapping events and neuter appointments for feral cats.
- Communicate with neighborhoods in order to educate, identify caregivers and feral cat colonies, coordinate trapping, and organize volunteers.
- Process all feral cat intake paperwork from clinics. Manage database of feral cats that have gone through clinics.
- Develop and maintain relationships with community feral cat volunteers and other organizations.
- Plan and host community outreach and training meetings or workshops.
- Procure necessary equipment for Trap-Neuter-Return program.
- Identify and apply for appropriate grants and other funding mechanisms to carry out Trap-Neuter-Return and offer services for caregivers of outdoor cats.
- Evaluate the success of the Trap-Neuter-Return program through statistical analysis.
Recruit and train a volunteer base willing to help with Trap-Neuter-Return. Potential volunteers can be found by: working with other local feral cat groups and colony caregivers; returning calls from the public about feral cats; and recruiting through your public education efforts. Learn more about successful recruitment of volunteers. Emphasize that there are many different roles for volunteers, including trapping, neuter clinic support, fostering, and administrative tasks.
Partnerships with other organizations can guarantee your Trap-Neuter-Return program’s success.
Work with local animal control or animal services to support and implement the Trap-Neuter-Return program. Progressive and compassionate animal control officers have the ability to educate the public during their interactions about feral and stray cats and refer residents to workshops and local neuter resources.
If you are collaborating with other animal organizations, be sure to: encourage participation of key stakeholders; establish the project leaders; involve each organization in discussing the plans; and keep everyone informed of the program’s progress.
Working with feral cat caregivers and other concerned citizens is a key ingredient. Often they know the details that you need about colonies—they have been on the ground, doing the hands-on work.
Next Step: Set policies and establish a trapping plan