Tumwater committee pushing for support of community cat program, and a reminder to license your pets


Tumwater’s public health and safety committee recommended an ordinance amending the municipal code to provide a definition for “community cats” during a meeting held yesterday, November 8.

Community cats will be defined as free-roaming cats that are cared for by one or more residents in an area. These cats are not considered pet animals and are not owned by anyone.

Joint Animal Services executive director Sarah Hock said that the updated language would help them to better implement a new cat program that involves a method called trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR).

“It’s a non-lethal, decentralized technique that employs community members to help animal control officers manage the cat population,” Hock said. “The cats are humanely trapped, spayed and neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and released back into the community to which they came from.”

Hocks explained that this approach is more effective than the catch-and-kill method, which most animal shelters implement.

“[Catch-and-kill method] relies on an ineffective and expensive model,” Hock explained, “where animal control officers round up cats and attempt to adopt them out in a small number, and then euthanize the remaining cats at a local shelter.”

Hocks reassured that the TNVR method does not bring more stray cats into an area. “These cats were already there. We're not adding additional cats to any area,” Hocks said. “With spaying and neutering and vaccinating, and putting them back in the same community… what we are doing is removing the ability for them to reproduce.”

Besides establishing additional language, the proposed ordinance also makes it a civil infraction if one does not license any pet animal they may own. The current version of the municipal code stipulates that only cats and dogs need to be licensed.


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  • johngreen

    This program is flawed in two major ways. First of all, releasing cats into the wild does irreparable harm to wild life. The average outdoor cat kills an estimated 36 birds per year which equates to a total of 2 1/2 billion birds in North America. Outdoor cats also kill millions of small animals such as chipmunks, squirrels and reptiles. Releasing cats back into the wild is inhumane according to a study by the University of Florida on feral cats. How humane is it to release cats to be killed by coyotes or other predators or run over by cars? TNR(trap, neuter, release) does not reduce feral cat populations according to the same study.

    John Green

    Monday, November 14, 2022 Report this