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I'm not sure there's anything in the world quite as cute as a kitten. Look at their round little heads! Their flappy ears! The mews!

But if there's something a lot of Texas neighborhoods could use less of, is kittens becoming colonies of stray/ feral cats. Personally, I am at cat-pacity, while attempting to help a family member find good homes for a litter of kittens that were born on her porch from a stray momma.

Research and experience have shown that far and away the most effective method for controlling the feral cat population is NOT euthanization, but rather, Trap-Neuter- Vaccinate- Release (TNVR) programs.

Why? Remember: cats are an incredibly successful species that can have multiple litters a year. Even if the neighborhood stray is euthanized, some other momma cat will come along and "fill the void" with even more cats.

[...] removal of cats will create a vacuum effect in which a new cats will move into the trapped cats spot. Studies and research have shown best practice is to trap/neuter/vaccinate and release cats back into the same communities.

So really, you're better off having that one big Tom cat- so long as he doesn't have his "pom-poms" anymore. TNVR is humane, and with the vaccination element- you are preventing indoor/outdoor pet cats from getting diseases like feline HIV, or even rabies.

A recent poll showed that a huge majority of Texans favor TNVR programs. However, local animal welfare groups have sought guidance from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as to the legality of the practice. He has yet to "weigh in" and his opinion does not necessarily translate to law. The legality of the issue is a little convoluted due to the vagueness of animal cruelty laws in regard to what constitutes "abandonment".

If you take a stray, neuter it, then release it back to its feral community, did you abandon it? I think most reasonable people would say "no". PETA*; however, does not support TNVR programs, which actually made more Texans respond favorably to TNVR. PETA is ironically pro-euthanization in this regard. Personally, I am no fan of PETA, so I find this correlation amusing.

*Warning: that hyperlink takes you to the PETA website, which is full of pictures of maimed animals. 

Hopefully, some legal clarity is reached on this issue so that animal welfare groups, and perhaps even local governments, can chip in to solve this very solvable problem.

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