The City of Alamo Heights Animal Care Services mission is to manage the feral cat population through community initiative, education, and a humane Trap, Neuter, and Return program.
Twenty years of research has shown that TNR is the most humane and effective strategy for reducing the feral cat population. It has been found that trapping and euthanizing feral cats only contributes to the population problem. When cats are removed and euthanized from a location, new cats will move in and the survivors will breed to capacity. This well documented phenomenon is called the vacuum effect. TNR stops the problem because it stops the breeding and the colony will gradually diminish over time.
The City of Alamo Heights Animal Care Representative will humanly trap feral cats, evaluate them, take them to be spayed or neutered, ear tipped, vaccinated for rabies, and then return the feral cats to the area in which they were trapped. The City of Alamo Heights Animal Care Representative will provide pre-surgery and post- surgery care for unsterilized feral cats. All tame kittens young enough to be socialized will be put up for adoption. Please see the Foster Care page if you are interested in becoming a foster parent.
Ear tipping is the removal of a quarter inch off the top of a feral cats’ left ear while the cat is anesthetized for spaying/neutering. This is the universal symbol and only proven way to permanently identify a feral cat that has been sterilized. It ensures the cat will not go through another invasive surgery.
All city codes governing Trapping and TNR can be found in Chapter 4 of the Alamo Heights City Ordinances. The City Ordinances can be accessed by going to the City website at AlamoHeightsTX.Gov. Select Government which can be found on the top of the first page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on City Codes. At the top of the City Code page is a link to the Municode website where Chapter 4 can be read. Trapping is in section 4-8 and TNR is in section 4-15.
In addition to being the most humane and effective method of decreasing the feral cat population it is also the most fiscally responsible. The most comprehensive study to date shows that 72% of cats that enter into shelters or pounds are euthanized and feral cats are euthanized almost 100% of the time. The euthanasia process can cost taxpayers around $150 per cat and still the problem will continue. Humane trapping, neutering, and returning can cost an average of $50 and its helps to decrease the population problem by stopping breeding.