Poll

What should I do about neighbor's free roaming cat?

Take the thing to the vet and get it checked out, fixed, and vaccinated, release to roam for the rest of his days
31 (67.4%)
Trap it and take it to the local animal shelter (likely to be euthanized in our community).
8 (17.4%)
Keep feeding it but take no further action.
5 (10.9%)
Ignore it until it goes away
2 (4.3%)

Total Members Voted: 46

Author Topic: Neighbor's cat in shabby shape - Looking for alternatives to adopting it  (Read 3852 times)

CheapskateWife

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This is one of those polls I would love for you to read this and then change your vote.

Neighbor "rescued" a box of kittens they found on the side of the road.  2 remain free roaming outdoor cats, I am unsure of what happened to the other 5.  Remaining cats are Thunder (who has been visiting us since he was a kitten) and an orange female who just had a litter of additional free roaming cats.  I think Thunder is the daddy.  Yup...he's still intact.

Thunder is emaciated, and not well cared for.  He has open wounds that don't seem to heal and he isn't putting on weight despite me feeding him. 

I have spoken to the neighbors about their cats, and their intend is to just let them be wild cats....mousers if you will.  Thanks neighbors.  We don't live in a rural community, more suburban and the rodent population doesn't dictate the need for wild cats.  I've never seen a rodent on my adjoining property (with the exception of an occasional brown rabbit).  Now their yard is not well kept so its possible they do have mice and the cats serve a purpose.

All this leads to my ethical delima....neighbors won't do anything about their cats, the one that visits us is in poor health, and my kid is getting attached.  Husband does not want an indoor cat, and neither do my two dogs.  OK Mustachians, WWYD?

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I couldn't ignore it. The guilt would haunt me.

I'd probably trap him, and get him checked out at the vet. Once he's fluffed back up with nutrition and antibiotics, ect, I'd take him to a no-kill shelter and drop him off along with a nice donation.

Another option would be animal control. They'd probably just take a report, but if the neighbour has a history of reports they might come remove the animals. However, they might go straight to euthanasia.

Tough situation. Thanks for being the type of person that at least considers how to help.

letired

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Do some searching for a trap-and-release type program in your area. If nothing else, getting any or all of the of the cats fixed would be my first priority. Some areas also offer low-cost spay/neuter surgery, and talking to your neighbors about that might be worth doing (depending, they don't sound like the greatest animal lovers).

If you have access to a low-cost vet option, see what the cost would be to get them checked out/dewormed/etc.

If you have a no-kill shelter available, I'd honestly just go straight to that option. Dropping him/them off with a nice donation means they can afford to do whatever medical care is necessary, and its a one-stop-shop for you.

Cpa Cat

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I would take the female and her kittens to the shelter, because around here they wouldn't be killed immediately. If I was worried about them being euthanized, I would bring her and the kittens in to foster. Try to contact a few rescues maybe to get it out of my hands, but ultimately I would foster them myself if I had to. Having this sort of feral-cat-to-be situation is not good, and they'll all be easier to catch when the litter is young.

I would take the male to the vet for medical care and neutering. It's a tough one - if he's sick, the vet may not want to neuter him without extensive testing. Providing medical care at this stage could be expensive. Again, our local shelter would provide this service, but I would feel obligated to provide a donation to cover their costs, especially if I expected to take the cat back to its "home."

GuitarStv

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Trap and take to a kill shelter.  'Outdoor cat' is a euphamism for 'asshole owner likes to make a cat suffer while simultaneously introducing an aggressive invasive animal into an ecosystem'.

CheapskateWife

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Thank you all for the thoughtful responses...even GuitarStv.  Yes, I am of the opinion that neighbor has thoughtlessly introduced these cats into our neighborhood without thought to their impact.  They aren't the only ones with free-roaming cats, but I know the other families well enough to know that the animals are receiving veterinary care and are indoor/outdoor creatures.

Husband is going to approach neighbor to ask if Thunder is vaccinated, since the little guy and my youngest are in contact.  Once we have that negative confirmed, it is likely we will just take him to the pound to be adopted by a family who will care for him.  Thank you all also for the donation suggestion.

I cannot commit to caring for another animal, so this seems like my most humane option.

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I'd be careful about engaging your neighbor about the cat. When it goes missing, they might connect the dots.

CheapskateWife

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Darn it!  You are right.  And these are not the kind of neighbors you want to piss off.  Craaaaap.

Now I'm back to just making him disappear.

Another Reader

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The most effective and humane solution to the problem is TNR, trap neuter and return.  Check with the public shelter, the local SPCA/Humane Society, and rescue groups to see who if anyone offers this for a low price, or better yet, free.  In Santa Clara County, every city except Palo Alto does "shelter, neuter return" for feral and community cats.  Cats are altered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification.  It's free and it works.  It has reduced shelter intake significantly.

Free roaming cats are now part of the ecosystem.  In most places, trap and kill is ineffective.  The "vacuum effect" means the cats that are removed are replaced by others.  Read up on effective solutions to the cat overpopulation problem at Maddie's Fund, Million Cat Challenge, and Alley Cat Allies.


GuitarStv

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The most effective and humane solution to the problem is TNR, trap neuter and return.  Check with the public shelter, the local SPCA/Humane Society, and rescue groups to see who if anyone offers this for a low price, or better yet, free.  In Santa Clara County, every city except Palo Alto does "shelter, neuter return" for feral and community cats.  Cats are altered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification.  It's free and it works.  It has reduced shelter intake significantly.

Free roaming cats are now part of the ecosystem.  In most places, trap and kill is ineffective.  The "vacuum effect" means the cats that are removed are replaced by others.  Read up on effective solutions to the cat overpopulation problem at Maddie's Fund, Million Cat Challenge, and Alley Cat Allies.


TNR is an ineffective and misguided waste of time, money, and energy.  It has been proven time and again to be ineffective in reducing feral cat populations (somehow these many studies are ignored by cat advocacy groups as listed above).  Of course, TNR does nothing to reduce the suffering that the cats undergo while living in an environment that they aren't designed to.

The only reason for support of TNR is the fact that cats are cute and cuddly pets, and people care more about them than the many native species of animals that they wipe out.  Nobody would be pushing for TNR if large groups of invasive species of cockroaches or rats were discovered outside of a town.

CheapskateWife

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The most effective and humane solution to the problem is TNR, trap neuter and return.  Check with the public shelter, the local SPCA/Humane Society, and rescue groups to see who if anyone offers this for a low price, or better yet, free.  In Santa Clara County, every city except Palo Alto does "shelter, neuter return" for feral and community cats.  Cats are altered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification.  It's free and it works.  It has reduced shelter intake significantly.

Free roaming cats are now part of the ecosystem.  In most places, trap and kill is ineffective.  The "vacuum effect" means the cats that are removed are replaced by others.  Read up on effective solutions to the cat overpopulation problem at Maddie's Fund, Million Cat Challenge, and Alley Cat Allies.

TNR is an ineffective and misguided waste of time, money, and energy.  It has been proven time and again to be ineffective in reducing feral cat populations (somehow these many studies are ignored by cat advocacy groups as listed above).  Of course, TNR does nothing to reduce the suffering that the cats undergo while living in an environment that they aren't designed to.

The only reason for support of TNR is the fact that cats are cute and cuddly pets, and people care more about them than the many native species of animals that they wipe out.  Nobody would be pushing for TNR if large groups of invasive species of cockroaches or rats were discovered outside of a town.

TNR is not a civic service in my community.  If I take him to the pound, he will either be adopted or euthanized.  He's such a cuddle bug when we do engage him, I think his chances are pretty good at the pound. 

I also happen to enjoy the birds, lizards, frogs and other small creatures on my property that he will likely feast on when I stop feeding him.  Damn, I'm really frustrated with my jerk neighbor about this.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 09:32:30 AM by CheapskateWife »

Another Reader

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The most effective and humane solution to the problem is TNR, trap neuter and return.  Check with the public shelter, the local SPCA/Humane Society, and rescue groups to see who if anyone offers this for a low price, or better yet, free.  In Santa Clara County, every city except Palo Alto does "shelter, neuter return" for feral and community cats.  Cats are altered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification.  It's free and it works.  It has reduced shelter intake significantly.

Free roaming cats are now part of the ecosystem.  In most places, trap and kill is ineffective.  The "vacuum effect" means the cats that are removed are replaced by others.  Read up on effective solutions to the cat overpopulation problem at Maddie's Fund, Million Cat Challenge, and Alley Cat Allies.


TNR is an ineffective and misguided waste of time, money, and energy.  It has been proven time and again to be ineffective in reducing feral cat populations (somehow these many studies are ignored by cat advocacy groups as listed above).  Of course, TNR does nothing to reduce the suffering that the cats undergo while living in an environment that they aren't designed to.

The only reason for support of TNR is the fact that cats are cute and cuddly pets, and people care more about them than the many native species of animals that they wipe out.  Nobody would be pushing for TNR if large groups of invasive species of cockroaches or rats were discovered outside of a town.

You are not educated on this topic.  I can cite many studies plus our local results to prove the opposite.

You do not eliminate cockroaches or rats with the standard kill methods either.  Why do you think government agencies release millions of sterilized mosquitoes and other insect species?  It's because it interrupts the breeding cycle and reproduction drops dramatically.  TNR does the same thing with cats.  It's population biology.

Cats do not "wipe out" other species.  They become part of the ecosystem.  They help control rodent and lizard populations.  A recent study of the contents of the stomachs of feral cats showed they primarily ate insects, lizards, and rodents.  Birds made up a small portion of the diet.

You cannot eliminate feral cats through trap and kill.  The vacuum left is filled within a few months.  It's a waste of money to try.

Cities all over the country are adopting TNR as the humane and effective way to solve the overpopulation problem.  It's much more effective, humane, and in the long run, a much less expensive method.


GuitarStv

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The most effective and humane solution to the problem is TNR, trap neuter and return.  Check with the public shelter, the local SPCA/Humane Society, and rescue groups to see who if anyone offers this for a low price, or better yet, free.  In Santa Clara County, every city except Palo Alto does "shelter, neuter return" for feral and community cats.  Cats are altered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification.  It's free and it works.  It has reduced shelter intake significantly.

Free roaming cats are now part of the ecosystem.  In most places, trap and kill is ineffective.  The "vacuum effect" means the cats that are removed are replaced by others.  Read up on effective solutions to the cat overpopulation problem at Maddie's Fund, Million Cat Challenge, and Alley Cat Allies.


TNR is an ineffective and misguided waste of time, money, and energy.  It has been proven time and again to be ineffective in reducing feral cat populations (somehow these many studies are ignored by cat advocacy groups as listed above).  Of course, TNR does nothing to reduce the suffering that the cats undergo while living in an environment that they aren't designed to.

The only reason for support of TNR is the fact that cats are cute and cuddly pets, and people care more about them than the many native species of animals that they wipe out.  Nobody would be pushing for TNR if large groups of invasive species of cockroaches or rats were discovered outside of a town.

You are not educated on this topic.  I can cite many studies plus our local results to prove the opposite.

You do not eliminate cockroaches or rats with the standard kill methods either.  Why do you think government agencies release millions of sterilized mosquitoes and other insect species?  It's because it interrupts the breeding cycle and reproduction drops dramatically.  TNR does the same thing with cats.  It's population biology.

Cats do not "wipe out" other species.  They become part of the ecosystem.  They help control rodent and lizard populations.  A recent study of the contents of the stomachs of feral cats showed they primarily ate insects, lizards, and rodents.  Birds made up a small portion of the diet.

You cannot eliminate feral cats through trap and kill.  The vacuum left is filled within a few months.  It's a waste of money to try.

Cities all over the country are adopting TNR as the humane and effective way to solve the overpopulation problem.  It's much more effective, humane, and in the long run, a much less expensive method.

I have been certified and have worked as a licensed pest control technician in my province.  I'm well educated on the effectiveness of TNR programs and the impacts of feral cats on native species.  I also know how other invasive species are handled.  The response to cats is different than that the response to any other invasive species.

Since you seem to be a bit confused about the impact of cats on the environment (Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species of birds for example) I'd encourage you to do some reading that's not pushed by cat advocacy groups:
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2380
http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/speciesname/Felis+catus
http://3pktan2l5dp043gw5f49lvhc-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Feral-Cats-Consequences-for-Humans-and-Wildlife.pdf
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/315373ff-04b3-49a7-ac5c-44f173e9b3f8/files/impacts-feral-cats.pdf


Regarding TNR specifically as a method of control:
http://www.tnrrealitycheck.com/studies.asp
http://www.hahf.org/awake/tnr-not-working/
http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/tufts-researchers-say-tnr-not-most-effective-method-control-feral-cat-population

Even people who fully support TNR acknowledge that there is little evidence that it works:  https://www.animalsheltering.org/blog/does-your-tnr-program-work-prove-it



FWIW - I don't hate cats.  They're great warm, cuddly pets.  They don't belong in the wild though.  They don't have good lives there.  I've personally seen cats with parasites, predatiion/fight damage, showing signs of starvation, car accidents, disease, and frostbite injuries.  They do a lot of damage to native species of birds and animals.  If we were dealing with any other species at all, we would be focusing on a quick and effective way to kill them.  That's why there are no TNR programs for rats . . . cuddly wins out over logic for many.

CheapskateWife

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a phrase I'm stealing from the "Does your TNR program work link"

Trap-Neuter-Re-Abandon - this is what I would be doing with my first option.  Really settling into the idea that this guy needs a chance at a family.  I'm going to take him to our shelter, and drop off the bag of food I've been feeding him and a donation for his care.  Hoping he is adopted soon.

Another Reader

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If you are in central Texas, dropping cats off at the local shelter is a death sentence.  Don't kid yourself that the cat will be fixed, treated and found a home. Not going to happen.

With an unfixed female around, more male cats will find their way to the property.  In two or three months, there will be another litter.  If any of the current crop of kittens survive, they will begin to breed as well.  Your neighbors will continue to feed and not fix the cats.  Your problem will increase, not disappear.

GuitarStv didn't read the article from Animal Sheltering Magazine he posted.  Shelter people know these programs work.  They just haven't documented that they do, because of time and money.  For every article he posts on the damage cats allegedly do, I can post another that concludes the opposite.  It's a waste of time to do this, because it's irrelevant to solving the problem.   

Remember, GuitarStv's view of wild life is that of the pest control technician.  If he really could control the pests he kills, he would be out of a job.  His methods don't work for cats or any other animal.   People are going to feed and not fix cats.  They will out run the trap and kill folks every time.

CheapskateWife

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If you are in central Texas, dropping cats off at the local shelter is a death sentence.  Don't kid yourself that the cat will be fixed, treated and found a home. Not going to happen.

With an unfixed female around, more male cats will find their way to the property.  In two or three months, there will be another litter.  If any of the current crop of kittens survive, they will begin to breed as well.  Your neighbors will continue to feed and not fix the cats.  Your problem will increase, not disappear.

GuitarStv didn't read the article from Animal Sheltering Magazine he posted.  Shelter people know these programs work.  They just haven't documented that they do, because of time and money.  For every article he posts on the damage cats allegedly do, I can post another that concludes the opposite.  It's a waste of time to do this, because it's irrelevant to solving the problem.   

Remember, GuitarStv's view of wild life is that of the pest control technician.  If he really could control the pests he kills, he would be out of a job.  His methods don't work for cats or any other animal.   People are going to feed and not fix cats.  They will out run the trap and kill folks every time.

Right, but you are arguing the efficacy of a program I don't have available to me unless I pay for it out of pocket.  Will start looking for a no-kill shelter option in my area.  The city pound is not looking like a reasonable option.

Another Reader

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Look up local low-cost spay neuter programs in the general area.  Ask your shelter if they work with any cat rescue groups and get a name and number.  How far are you from a major city?  Free or low-cost programs should be available there.  Austin has gone "no kill." Is there a Petsmart anywhere near you?  They usually work with rescues and show the rescue cats in their adoption centers. They may be able to refer you.

If you can get this guy neutered and vaccinated and the neighbors continue to feed, he will help keep other males away, especially if you can get mom spayed.  Trap the kittens and see if you can find a rescue to take them in.  If not, TNR them.   In the end, spending a little now will solve a much bigger problem later.

And talk to your neighbors.  They are creating a problem for the entire neighborhood by "letting nature take its' course."


CheapskateWife

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Look up local low-cost spay neuter programs in the general area.  Ask your shelter if they work with any cat rescue groups and get a name and number.  How far are you from a major city?  Free or low-cost programs should be available there.  Austin has gone "no kill." Is there a Petsmart anywhere near you?  They usually work with rescues and show the rescue cats in their adoption centers. They may be able to refer you.

If you can get this guy neutered and vaccinated and the neighbors continue to feed, he will help keep other males away, especially if you can get mom spayed.  Trap the kittens and see if you can find a rescue to take them in.  If not, TNR them.   In the end, spending a little now will solve a much bigger problem later.

And talk to your neighbors.  They are creating a problem for the entire neighborhood by "letting nature take its' course."
The neighbors have been spoken to...there is a cultural difference between our values and theirs regarding the care of animals that I just can't break through.  These are not the kind of people you want to be on the "bad side" of, and so I have been very hesitant to take matters into my own hands regarding the cats and their care.  The neighbors wont do anything about the cats, but might get really unruly if they perceive that I have done something to interfere with their property. 

There is a petsmart and a no-kill shelter in an adjacent community.  Think the shelter is my best option.  Just need to trap them quietly and make them disappear quietly.

Thank you all for the discussion, I feel much better about moving forward with this course of action.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 03:21:03 PM by CheapskateWife »

Another Reader

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Call the no-kill shelter and find out the process before you trap. They may only take from their town or with a donation.  Keep widening your search.  You will find a reasonable solution.

GuitarStv

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GuitarStv didn't read the article from Animal Sheltering Magazine he posted.  Shelter people know these programs work.  They just haven't documented that they do, because of time and money.  For every article he posts on the damage cats allegedly do, I can post another that concludes the opposite.  It's a waste of time to do this, because it's irrelevant to solving the problem.

I didn't read the article that I posted?  Really?  In the same post where I mentioned that it was from a group that supports TNR, and indicated that they have concerns about the lack of evidence supporting the programs?  You're being a bit silly.

Many people involved in the programs claim to 'know' that TNR works.  This makes sense.  They probably wouldn't spend all that time and effort if they didn't believe in what they were doing.  It doesn't however, mean that their feelings are correct.  I get that it's an emotionally charged issue for people.  That's why TNR exists at all . . . and why it only exists for cats.  People don't get as emotionally charged about termites.  You obviously don't care about the wildlife that the cats kill, but are very concerned about the well-being of the cats . . . which is pretty hypocritical from my point of view.  "We can't kill this animal that we introduced that doesn't belong here!  Let's doom these thousands of other animals to death at it's paws!  That sounds ethically balanced!".  This is why emotions should not dictate policy.


Remember, GuitarStv's view of wild life is that of the pest control technician.  If he really could control the pests he kills, he would be out of a job.  His methods don't work for cats or any other animal.   People are going to feed and not fix cats.  They will out run the trap and kill folks every time.

In my opinion, TNR programs tacitly support cat abandonment.  They give the pet owners a hope that the cat will live happily ever after after being dumped.  They keep people from having to face the cold hard truth of what these invasive animals to do wildlife, and give them a rose coloured view of what life is going to be like for cats in the wilderness.

You're partly right here.  It's very difficult to permanently eradicate a fast breeding invasive species.  It's impossible to do if they are constantly being reintroduced to the environment.  Regardless of the method of control used (euthanization or TNR), people need to take responsibility for their pets rather than pretend that they are a part of the natural environment.

As an aside - I haven't worked as a pest control tech for several years now, and certainly have no need to keep a job in the field.

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People dumped cats long before TNR was introduced.  Sadly, a lot of people believe cats can fend for themselves or use that rationalization to dump cats or leave them behind when they move.

What the article says is the data have not been gathered or published, not that the data do not support TNR.  The author cites Dr, Levy's study on reduction of shelter intake and euthanasia as evidence that TNR is working, and suggests more data should be gathered and published.  BTW, Dr. Levy is Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida's veterinary school and co-founder of the Million Cat Challenge. 

I suggest you meet with some TNR advocates that manage colonies.  They will show you cats that are fed and cared for in their outdoor environments.  Newcomers are trapped, and if they don't have homes or can't be placed in homes, they are altered, vaccinated and released.  Kittens that show up are trapped and go to rescues or shelters for placement as house cats.  Over time, populations stabilize and eventually decrease.

The long term solution is to treat the companion animal overpopulation problem as a public health issue.   A stable and healthy population is the objective.  Make spay and neuter public policy.   Make it low cost or free, and require that it be done.  In urban areas, do outreach in the low income and non-English speaking neighborhoods where a lot of the problem originates.  Make dumping a crime and prosecute the people that dump animals.  The public health approach is far more effective than your trap and kill approach.

GuitarStv

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People dumped cats long before TNR was introduced.  Sadly, a lot of people believe cats can fend for themselves or use that rationalization to dump cats or leave them behind when they move.

Agreed.

I suggest you meet with some TNR advocates that manage colonies.  They will show you cats that are fed and cared for in their outdoor environments.  Newcomers are trapped, and if they don't have homes or can't be placed in homes, they are altered, vaccinated and released.  Kittens that show up are trapped and go to rescues or shelters for placement as house cats.  Over time, populations stabilize and eventually decrease.

Populations have not been shown to decrease long term in any of the studies that I've read (unless the researchers were actively adopting and removing large numbers of the cats while the study was going on).  I'd be interested to read the studies that you have which show what you're claiming though.

Unfortunately, feeding and caring for feral cats still doesn't prevent them from killing animals.  Cats kill for fun, not necessarily because they're hungry (as this study of fed cats who were allowed to roam outdoors demonstrates - https://abcbirds.org/article/kittycam-reveals-high-levels-of-wildlife-being-killed-by-outdoor-cats/).


The long term solution is to treat the companion animal overpopulation problem as a public health issue.   A stable and healthy population is the objective.  Make spay and neuter public policy.   Make it low cost or free, and require that it be done.  In urban areas, do outreach in the low income and non-English speaking neighborhoods where a lot of the problem originates.  Make dumping a crime and prosecute the people that dump animals.  The public health approach is far more effective than your trap and kill approach.

If you believe that maintaining a stable and healthy population of an invasive species in the wild is the objective, I'm not sure that we'll ever meet eye to eye on this.  That might make you feel better at night, but for the billions (https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2380) of deaths of native species caused by the cats every year it's not much of a solution.

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Studies have shown in the case of birds in particular, the destruction of habitat by people is a far bigger factor in the decline of bird populations than cats or any other predator.  People are wildlife's biggest enemy.  We are the most destructive invasive species.

The reality is that cats are now part of the ecosystem.  No government agency will support large scale eradication efforts or pay for them, not that they would work anyway.  Best to learn how to manage the problem instead.

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Nature Canada studies show that cats are the number one cause of bird deaths.  Cars and wind farms and so on are a magnitude less damaging.
http://www.birdlife.org/americas/news/canadian-scientists-publish-human-related-bird-mortality-estimates

Many bird populations are thriving with people - read Welcome to Subirdia.  Legislation is doing a reasonably good job of protecting migratory species and habitat of threatened/endangered species.  Where birds have trouble is in loss of food - some species depend on insect outbreaks, and when we control the insect outbreaks we prevent the bird populations from recovering - think warblers.  Grass-nesters are vulnerable to haying.

Re neuter-release problems, the advantage is that the incidence of fights goes way down - the males are not spraying, the females are not coming into heat and attracting males, and there are no new litters.  But damage to wildlife is still occurring.  Here they don't clip ear tips, since feral cats often lose ear tips to frost-bite. They tattoo an N in the ear instead.
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Hotstreak

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I waivered between the last two options in the poll, and ended up selecting "keep feeding it but nothing else since your child is fond of the cat, and it might otherwise be feeding on local birds, etc.  It sucks what your neighbors are doing and they sound like horrible owners but regardless of your opinion of how they care for the animal, you should not capture another person's pet and remove it to a facility.  Feel free to capture it on your property and return it to them or call the authorities.  You have made it clear this is not a stray, it is an outdoor cat which belongs to your neighbors family, so it is not your place to have the cat permanently altered in any way.  Not to mention, it sounds like they would be pissed & you are a little bit worried about their potential reaction!

LeRainDrop

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I couldn't ignore it. The guilt would haunt me. . . . Tough situation. Thanks for being the type of person that at least considers how to help.

If you have a no-kill shelter available, I'd honestly just go straight to that option. Dropping him/them off with a nice donation means they can afford to do whatever medical care is necessary, and its a one-stop-shop for you.

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Rural

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Is rabies not a problem where you are?

CheapskateWife

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We did have a rabid raccoon reported at a city park a few months ago....so it exists, but I don't know if its problematic.

Talked to another cat person and she suggested that the open wounds might be "hot-spots", what she described as an overgrooming reaction to an allergy.  So I watched him for the last few days and sure enough, he is doing the damage to himself!  Poor guy.  She suggested Benadryl, but now I'm looking at drugging the neighbors cat.  sheesh! 

Can't wait for the shelter to call me back!




ooeei

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I waivered between the last two options in the poll, and ended up selecting "keep feeding it but nothing else since your child is fond of the cat, and it might otherwise be feeding on local birds, etc.  It sucks what your neighbors are doing and they sound like horrible owners but regardless of your opinion of how they care for the animal, you should not capture another person's pet and remove it to a facility.  Feel free to capture it on your property and return it to them or call the authorities.  You have made it clear this is not a stray, it is an outdoor cat which belongs to your neighbors family, so it is not your place to have the cat permanently altered in any way.  Not to mention, it sounds like they would be pissed & you are a little bit worried about their potential reaction!

If my neighbor had a lawnmower that they frequently ran over my grass and left sitting in my yard, I'd have no problem putting it up on Craigslist or throwing it away. Sure, I'd let them know at first that they'd left it there, but if they showed no remorse or intent to change their habits, I don't think I'd just take it back to their house every day.

These neighbors don't give a crap that their cat is wandering the neighborhood and not only destroying wildlife, but potentially spreading disease. It absolutely is OP's place to do what he needs to in order to make the situation better.

With This Herring

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We did have a rabid raccoon reported at a city park a few months ago....so it exists, but I don't know if its problematic.

Talked to another cat person and she suggested that the open wounds might be "hot-spots", what she described as an overgrooming reaction to an allergy.  So I watched him for the last few days and sure enough, he is doing the damage to himself!  Poor guy.  She suggested Benadryl, but now I'm looking at drugging the neighbors cat.  sheesh! 

Can't wait for the shelter to call me back!

Would the Benadryl slow the cat's reactions enough that he would be more likely to be hit by a car?

I don't normally recommend lying, but if this cat "disappears" to a shelter, the neighbors' questions to you should be answered with comments on how many cats you've seen hit by cars recently.
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Hotstreak

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I waivered between the last two options in the poll, and ended up selecting "keep feeding it but nothing else since your child is fond of the cat, and it might otherwise be feeding on local birds, etc.  It sucks what your neighbors are doing and they sound like horrible owners but regardless of your opinion of how they care for the animal, you should not capture another person's pet and remove it to a facility.  Feel free to capture it on your property and return it to them or call the authorities.  You have made it clear this is not a stray, it is an outdoor cat which belongs to your neighbors family, so it is not your place to have the cat permanently altered in any way.  Not to mention, it sounds like they would be pissed & you are a little bit worried about their potential reaction!

If my neighbor had a lawnmower that they frequently ran over my grass and left sitting in my yard, I'd have no problem putting it up on Craigslist or throwing it away. Sure, I'd let them know at first that they'd left it there, but if they showed no remorse or intent to change their habits, I don't think I'd just take it back to their house every day.

These neighbors don't give a crap that their cat is wandering the neighborhood and not only destroying wildlife, but potentially spreading disease. It absolutely is OP's place to do what he needs to in order to make the situation better.

If you did that with a lawnmower I think that would be theft?  If your neighbors Frisbee flew over the fence and you kept it and sold it I think that would be theft also?  If their house is dirty and you cross their curtilage to pressure wash the siding that would be trespassing?  For a more applicable example, if the neighbors well cared for dog dug under the fence and you took it to a kill shelter, or took it to be neutered against their wishes, I imagine that may be illegal and you may end up paying damages or being cited, especially if like OP you aware of the ownership and pre-planned the action (although I'm not the police, so don't quote me on that).  I totally agree with you that the cat owners are acting horribly but the fact that the animal is not well cared for doesn't change it's ownership, until animal control or some other authority steps in and says it does. 

Zamboni

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Around here a local cat rescue group will loan a humane trap and provide a list of low cost clinics who will do full check up, vaccines, and neuter/spay for a fixed low amount. As others have mentioned, they "nock" the ear so others will know the cat is fixed and has shots. I took advantage of this for a small feral cat who kept showing up in my yard bc I didn't want her to have kittens. She was very wild, or I would have adopted her and brought her in.

I continued to try to care for her outside after getting her the medical care . . . she only lasted a couple of months before another animal killed her. I found her remains in my yard after she was missing a couple of days. The life of a feral cat is typically fairly short.

CheapskateWife

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Finally got a call back; the no kill shelter doesn't take in strays...only rescues from local impound facilities. 

Now what?

ooeei

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If you did that with a lawnmower I think that would be theft?  If your neighbors Frisbee flew over the fence and you kept it and sold it I think that would be theft also?  If their house is dirty and you cross their curtilage to pressure wash the siding that would be trespassing?  For a more applicable example, if the neighbors well cared for dog dug under the fence and you took it to a kill shelter, or took it to be neutered against their wishes, I imagine that may be illegal and you may end up paying damages or being cited, especially if like OP you aware of the ownership and pre-planned the action (although I'm not the police, so don't quote me on that).  I totally agree with you that the cat owners are acting horribly but the fact that the animal is not well cared for doesn't change it's ownership, until animal control or some other authority steps in and says it does.

I'm not talking about a one time occurrence.  I'm saying if every day they tossed their running lawnmower over the fence into my yard, even after me letting them know about it.  Or if their unvaccinated dog that they left out in the unfenced front yard kept running over and hanging out in my yard, and they showed no concern when I told them about it and had no intentions of changing anything.

Yeah it might technically be theft or some other thing, but at that point I'm not sure I'd care. 

Another Reader

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Finally got a call back; the no kill shelter doesn't take in strays...only rescues from local impound facilities. 

Now what?

Widen the search area and ask about TNR.

letired

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Finally got a call back; the no kill shelter doesn't take in strays...only rescues from local impound facilities. 

Now what?

I'm kind of stretching here, but is it reasonable to make the trip to wherever is local to the no-kill shelter and drop it/them off there?

Spork

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Finally got a call back; the no kill shelter doesn't take in strays...only rescues from local impound facilities. 

Now what?

sending you a PM... I originally posted it here, but decided I was putting someone's name out there for public googlage and that probably isn't kosher.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 04:19:21 PM by Spork »
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JLR

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Our neighbours got an older kitten for their kids. It was always terribly skinny, and would do big, sloppy (wormy?) poos in our yard.

That Christmas they went away for three weeks, leaving the cat and a dog at home. They came back weekly to check on them. This was a huge dilemma for us - at what point should we intervene?

We started feeding the cat (outside). Then it progressed to the neighbour's cat taking over our own cat's outside bed. Then the neighbour's cat hightailing it through our door whenever we tried to go in and out, in search of food in our own cat's bowls. One time we picked it up to take it back outside and realised that despite its low body fat it had a very round tummy. Could it have just had a big feed (at our expense)? Or was it pregnant? And where were the neighbours?

The neighbours returned and we carefully broached the topic of their possibly-pregnant cat. Oh, yes. They knew about it. They felt it was good and natural to allow a cat to have a litter of kittens before having it desexed. The kittens arrived and soon one had an eye injury (from being scratched by another kitten). It seemed to be left untreated. A few kittens went to new homes, leaving the mother, a kitten, and the injured kitten.

Then the mother went missing. They found she had been run over by a cat the next street over. Then someone took on the injured cat as a charity case and saw to its care. Now the one kitten remains and we have never, ever fed it. But it still feels it can sleep on our cat's outside bed.

I have no opinion on what you should do, but felt you might be able to learn something from our own (terrible) handling of a similar situation.


wenchsenior

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People dumped cats long before TNR was introduced.  Sadly, a lot of people believe cats can fend for themselves or use that rationalization to dump cats or leave them behind when they move.

Agreed.

I suggest you meet with some TNR advocates that manage colonies.  They will show you cats that are fed and cared for in their outdoor environments.  Newcomers are trapped, and if they don't have homes or can't be placed in homes, they are altered, vaccinated and released.  Kittens that show up are trapped and go to rescues or shelters for placement as house cats.  Over time, populations stabilize and eventually decrease.

Populations have not been shown to decrease long term in any of the studies that I've read (unless the researchers were actively adopting and removing large numbers of the cats while the study was going on).  I'd be interested to read the studies that you have which show what you're claiming though.

Unfortunately, feeding and caring for feral cats still doesn't prevent them from killing animals.  Cats kill for fun, not necessarily because they're hungry (as this study of fed cats who were allowed to roam outdoors demonstrates - https://abcbirds.org/article/kittycam-reveals-high-levels-of-wildlife-being-killed-by-outdoor-cats/).


The long term solution is to treat the companion animal overpopulation problem as a public health issue.   A stable and healthy population is the objective.  Make spay and neuter public policy.   Make it low cost or free, and require that it be done.  In urban areas, do outreach in the low income and non-English speaking neighborhoods where a lot of the problem originates.  Make dumping a crime and prosecute the people that dump animals.  The public health approach is far more effective than your trap and kill approach.

If you believe that maintaining a stable and healthy population of an invasive species in the wild is the objective, I'm not sure that we'll ever meet eye to eye on this.  That might make you feel better at night, but for the billions (https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms2380) of deaths of native species caused by the cats every year it's not much of a solution.


Speaking as a biologist, I 100% agree with this. Domestic cats are invasive, and absolutely devastating to native wildlife.  Trap and neuter programs would be somewhat effective if the populations were 'closed' and you could trap all of them, though the remaining cats would still kills some native wildlife.  But that is a vanishingly rare situation in anycase.  Trap and neuter actually allows DENSER populations of cats to occur in many areas than would naturally occur because it reduces intra-species territoriality. Thus it is potentially even worse for native wildlife.

Personally, we LOVE cats (we currently have 3, all rescues) and it is very depressing to kill them, but we do trap and kill feral cats regularly in our back yard when our local populations increase to the point where they are regularly in our back yard.   

ETA, for sure people are the ultimate, rather than proximate cause of destruction of the natural environment.  But I can't trap and neuter people, or otherwise force their numbers down, or prevent them from releasing their cats.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 12:09:25 PM by wenchsenior »

Another Reader

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"Personally, we LOVE cats (we currently have 3, all rescues) and it is very depressing to kill them, but we do trap and kill feral cats regularly in our back yard when our local populations increase to the point where they are regularly in our back yard."

You are killing the same cats, over and over.   Same DNA, hence my comment.  If you would TNR, the altered cats would keep the other cats out of your yard.  No longer your immediate problem.

Cats are an entrenched part of the ecosystem.  Trap and kill encourages more to come in to the territory and breed.  Which is why you do this repeatedly with no real success.

wenchsenior

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"Personally, we LOVE cats (we currently have 3, all rescues) and it is very depressing to kill them, but we do trap and kill feral cats regularly in our back yard when our local populations increase to the point where they are regularly in our back yard."

You are killing the same cats, over and over.   Same DNA, hence my comment.  If you would TNR, the altered cats would keep the other cats out of your yard.  No longer your immediate problem.

Cats are an entrenched part of the ecosystem.  Trap and kill encourages more to come in to the territory and breed.  Which is why you do this repeatedly with no real success.

There is an element of truth to this.  But it depends on how you define 'success' I guess.  Any altered cats present in the area would still kill wildlife. As it is, we usually have a flare-up every 3-4 years between us and the local pest services trapping and killing the local population.  Between times, there are almost no cats at all.  So, you have a point: we could periodically remove and have very little wildlife death on our property. Or we could allow 4 or 5 cats to live permanently in the area and come into our yard regularly to kill wildlife.  With those, we could sink a lot of time and energy into adverse conditioning, which might reduce the kill rate somewhat. But it still isn't a closed population, so random cats would still periodically move in and breed.

No matter what, it is a time and energy sink.  Ideally, we could also remove all our neighbors' free roaming, neutered cats, too. But that is too hard core for me.  When I was a kid, our family stupidly let our cats roam and thus were part  of the problem.

Maybe someday we'll be able to bioengineer a pathogen to kill free roaming cats (ETA: almost certainly not feasible because of spillover to native felids), or a contraceptive that can be delivered via food. 

Similar things are being tried with feral mustang populations (long term contraception, I mean) as an alternative to culling them. But biologists have a way to go for this to be effective or cost- and time-efficient as a solution.

ETA: Is it usual for TNR programs to require you to feed/support the released animals? Our local program will not do the vaccinations and neutering unless you sign an agreement become a 'caretaker' and provide food and bring the animals to the vet if they become sick or injured, and I won't be doing that.  No way, no how.  Maybe it depends on the program?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 12:50:16 PM by wenchsenior »

DoubleDown

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Several here keep calling common house cats an "invasive" species. How in the world are cats invasive, given that they've co-existed domestically and mutually beneficially with humans and everything around them, all over the world, for some 10,000+ years? I think the term "invasive species" commonly and traditionally refers to a plant or animal that is introduced into an ecosystem where it has never been seen and then overwhelms the native flora/fauna. Think of Japanese kudzu, bamboo, non-native vines that choke everything around them, rabbits in Australia, monster Chinese fish that kill everything else, etc. I understand not liking excessive feral cats running around, but calling them "invasive" is hyperbolic/untrue. I doubt anyone would call dogs an "invasive species" just because there was a pack of them running loose on the streets, even causing mayhem.
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plainjane

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Several here keep calling common house cats an "invasive" species. How in the world are cats invasive, given that they've co-existed domestically and mutually beneficially with humans and everything around them, all over the world, for some 10,000+ years? I think the term "invasive species" commonly and traditionally refers to a plant or animal that is introduced into an ecosystem where it has never been seen and then overwhelms the native flora/fauna.

Cats are definitely invasive in spots like New Zealand. In North America, they kill songbirds which are already struggling with loss of habitat. While there are some cat species native to North America, afaict from a brief Google, the domesticated cat came over with European settlers/explorers, which was much more recently than 10k+ years ago. I'd be happy to read other research you have done on the subject if you are willing to share.
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partgypsy

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What we did in a similar situation was rehome the animal (puppy in this case) and act ignorant when asked. I would try to find a no kill solution if possible, but it's not always available. Ps I'm glad you did your due diligence. We have a rescue cat that insists on being 95% outdoors her entire life, even during wintertime. To some she may seem a little shabby and possibly neglected, but its because she is 19 years old and has always been on the tiny side. I would be heartbroken if someone snatched her simply because she primarily lives outside. Cats are variable in how much they hunt. In her case shes not interested in birds but does hunt nice and voles. If she was a big hunter there is a kind of collar they can wear that makes them more visible to birds (they look like clown collars)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 02:43:21 PM by partgypsy »

wenchsenior

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Several here keep calling common house cats an "invasive" species. How in the world are cats invasive, given that they've co-existed domestically and mutually beneficially with humans and everything around them, all over the world, for some 10,000+ years? I think the term "invasive species" commonly and traditionally refers to a plant or animal that is introduced into an ecosystem where it has never been seen and then overwhelms the native flora/fauna. Think of Japanese kudzu, bamboo, non-native vines that choke everything around them, rabbits in Australia, monster Chinese fish that kill everything else, etc. I understand not liking excessive feral cats running around, but calling them "invasive" is hyperbolic/untrue. I doubt anyone would call dogs an "invasive species" just because there was a pack of them running loose on the streets, even causing mayhem.

"Invasive" is not hyperbolic. It is a technical biological term for species that did not evolve in the location they are found, but that later colonize those areas (usually because of human actions) and subsequently reproduce and exist at abnormally high densities and/or with abnormal ecological impacts on native ecosystems and species.  Biologists don't use it as a value-laden term, although some people commenting might be.  Felis silvestris most certainly fits the definition in the Americas.

DoubleDown

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Okay, I'll take the biologists' word on it that domestic cats in North America qualify as "invasive"! Still seems to me (as a layperson) that after hundreds of years for an equilibrium to be established that they would no longer be considered invasive, but I'll take your word for it.
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wenchsenior

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Okay, I'll take the biologists' word on it that domestic cats in North America qualify as "invasive"! Still seems to me (as a layperson) that after hundreds of years for an equilibrium to be established that they would no longer be considered invasive, but I'll take your word for it.

Right. But the 'equilibrium' is merely numerical, not natural.  Human altered landscapes, and the fact that humans domesticated cats and tend to be tolerant of or encourage their presence (unlike many humans' attitudes toward larger native felid species), allows the domestic cat populations to persist in most places at MUCH higher numbers than any native felid can or could.

I will simplify, but broadly speaking: Under most natural, un-human-altered conditions, predators cannot exert a permanently depressive effect on their prey populations...because a healthy prey population is by definition occupying habitat that allows it enough food, water, and breeding and escape cover for enough individuals to escape predators and reproduce, and produce of 'surplus' of individuals upon which the predator can subsist. Populations thus naturally fluctuate around the carrying capacity of their habitat, and don't go into 'booms' or 'busts' unless some additional forces are at play. 

But in the case of domestic cats, humans support artificially high populations by tolerating ferals, keeping cats as pets, breeding cats, keeping cats on farms, etc. Humans also alter the environment in ways that often further advantage the cats (most cities tend to be less hospitable to the larger predators that might kill the cats, and they support huge populations of other species that serve as prey and allow cats to maximize reproduction, eg, doves, grackles, and a bunch of OTHER invasive nonnatives: house sparrows, black rats, house mice, starlings, etc).  In rural areas, agriculture simultaneously destroys native wildlife habitat AND supports artificially high populations of rodents (hence the farmers' need for the cats).  So you get a disproportionately huge effect of a single predator species on all of the native prey species. In such a situation, a predator population CAN serve to permanently reduce carrying capacity of the prey's habitat and suppress prey numbers far below what is natural.

partgypsy

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Okay, I'll take the biologists' word on it that domestic cats in North America qualify as "invasive"! Still seems to me (as a layperson) that after hundreds of years for an equilibrium to be established that they would no longer be considered invasive, but I'll take your word for it.

100's of years is nothing evolutionarily. Remember these ecosystems and the species took thousands and millions of years to reach that point. No way for that ecosystem and the animals in that ecosystem to adapt that quickly.

wenchsenior

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Okay, I'll take the biologists' word on it that domestic cats in North America qualify as "invasive"! Still seems to me (as a layperson) that after hundreds of years for an equilibrium to be established that they would no longer be considered invasive, but I'll take your word for it.

100's of years is nothing evolutionarily. Remember these ecosystems and the species took thousands and millions of years to reach that point. No way for that ecosystem and the animals in that ecosystem to adapt that quickly.

Exactly so. 

Sibley

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The problem of feral cats is a problem created by humans. Yes, it is a problem, both from the wider ecosystem and suffering of the feral animals. I believe that it is up to humans to fix it. Ideally, all animals would be spayed/neutered except for a breeding population which is NOT left to wander the outdoors at will and find other intact animals to make unwanted babies.

Since it isn't a perfect world, TNR can at least help stop the overpopulation problem. Is it perfect? No. And if there is constantly an influx of new animals, the population wouldn't seem to decrease. But if TNR is performed consistently, everywhere, for all animals outside, then it will be effective. However, you have to fix the root problem, which is humans not spaying/neutering the animals.

OP - this animal seems to be in distress. Regardless of the cause. In general, I would prefer that an animal be humanely euthanized rather than allow it to suffer. Animals outside are at risk of starvation, disease, and injury, any of which can be fatal and will cause suffering. I would take the animal, and any others left outside that are in distress to the shelter. Even if it means that they'll be euthanized. Ideal? No. But it prevents suffering.