Newstalk and TNR

A ten minute sound bite Are Feral Cats Taking Over? on Newstalk this morning was very interesting – and great publicity for TNR!

The broadcast was part of the publicity campaign that is National Feral Cats Week 2014, spearheaded by Feral Cats Ireland, the networking resource for TNR in Ireland, and it was wonderful to hear the information broadcast nationally. Grand job to all the TNR people who participated in spreading the good word!

However, being me, I now have to clarify some of the points made and correct a couple of bits of misinformation that unfortunately went out in the broadcast.

The new TNR Manual for Ireland, produced by Feral Cats Ireland, contains lots of information on TNR and practical guidelines on all aspects. Check it out if you’d like to know more.

I’d be interested in any feedback ye might have on the TNR Newstalk ten minutes this morning – so please feel free to leave your thoughts.


Actually, before I clarify anything I should say how great it was to hear the amount of information that could fit into ten minutes – the benefits of neutering, feeding gives a moral responsibility of care, great TNR explanations, great description of humane traps – and loads more.

Socialising Kittens


“feral cats are kittens who haven’t been handled before ten days old”


  • Kittens shouldn’t really be handled before ten days old – mum knows best! The important time for handling is three to seven weeks with a diminishing window up to 12 weeks. See Kittens Guide for more information.
  • Cats who have not been handled in the first 12 weeks of life can still be socialised, and even tamed. But best practice TNR would return feral cats to their colony, not least because there are already more tame domestic cats than there are homes for them in Ireland. See Feral and Stray Cats for more information.

Feeding Feral Cats


“don’t overfeed feral cats or they won’t hunt”


  • Although overfeeding isn’t exactly a good idea, the effect of this statement could lead to them being underfed, or not fed at all. Most cats won’t overeat anyway. Many casual caregivers already don’t feed their ferals enough and need to be encouraged to feed em more. See Providing Food & Water for more information on appropriate feeding regimes.
  • Hunters Gonna Hunt – cats who hunt will do so whether they are full or not. But, if you want to encourage hunting simply keep in mind that dawn and dusk are the best times for cats to find their prey out and about – so don’t feed them just before these times – feed them after instead. Simple!
  • For those caregivers who would prefer their feline companions hunt less, check out fabcat’s guide on how to control your cat’s hunting.

Other Clarifications

Neutering costs around €25 per cat???? Erm, jings, I hope the public don’t think that’s a standard charge! The best price I can get males neutered for is €35 – and that’s as a TNR discount where the vet makes no profit, maybe even a loss. Neutering schemes will certainly reduce the rate, but I’d prefer to publicise standard veterinary charges – which the programme also did (from 70 to over 100). However, I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot of folk being outraged at the actual costs of neutering because of this one.

There was a mention of feral cats “weeing everywhere to mark their territory” – without a clarification that neutering will not only remove the awful, awful tomcat smell from the urine, but is also likely to reduce the behaviour itself.

Cats can be neutered from as young as 12 weeks old (Early Age Neutering) and cats can get pregnant as young as four months.

And, of course, there were a few other issues that were unclear or a bit murky – but what can you do in ten minutes at the end of the day?


All in all a fab snippet for TNR publicity. Wonderful to get the spot and the time and the interest.

The moral of the story – to be very sure of our information when we’re publicising TNR – there’s too much misinformation out there without us adding to it – especially when we put ourselves forward as experts.

Related Links

Posted in Feral Cats Ireland, TNR Tales, Useful Links.

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