Many people take the initiative to learn Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) after they see community cats in their own backyard or neighborhood. Lisa Chang took action after she learned about cats in another state.
During her winter break, Chang, a New York teacher, traveled more than 200 miles to Silver Spring, Maryland, to carry out TNR for the community cats her brother had been feeding at his apartment complex. Even more impressive is that Chang had never done TNR, but she knew that the three cats needed to go through the program.
With the knowledge Chang gained from her own research, along with help from Alley Cat Allies, she and her brother successfully trapped a mother cat and her 6-month-old kittens, got them spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and released them back to their outdoor home.
“The mother has already been pregnant three times,” she says. “The least we can do for these cats … is try to get them fixed and set them free.”
Chang first heard about TNR about a year ago and knew she wanted to put the community cats at her brother’s apartment complex through the program. Chang read up on TNR, watched videos online, and thought, “I can do this,” she says. Then she went out and bought four traps. Her actions underscore what Alley Cat Allies staff members say repeatedly: Most anyone can do TNR. It takes determination, the ability to learn, and the willingness to ask for help.
Just before New Year’s Eve, and armed with the traps, Chang went to Maryland to visit her brother and put the community cats through TNR—but there was just one problem. She couldn’t find a clinic that would take the cats for spay and neuter appointments. She reached out to Alley Cat Allies for help.
Our associate director of animal shelter and animal control engagement, Alice Burton, helped arrange for Chang to get an appointment at Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Merrifield, Virginia, the next morning, on December 29. Alley Cat Allies works closely with veterinarian Carole Richards, co-owner of the practice.
Chang was new to TNR, but not to helping animals. She has five cats of her own, and in October, she took in an abandoned cat and kitten her friend found. (She got the mother spayed and found them a home in December!)
Now that Chang has some trapping experience under her belt, she hopes to spread the word about TNR. She knows some colleagues who feed cats in New York, so she plans to let them know about the program.
“I know I want to share [and] bring up awareness about TNR where I am in New York,” she says.
Overall, Chang is satisfied that she was able to help the cats and that Alley Cat Allies was able to help her. “If it wasn’t for Alice making the calls, I wouldn’t have been able to do this,” Chang says.