Even the most fervent fans of felines would probably admit that New Jersey has something of a cat problem — at least when it comes to the approximately 400,000 feral cats that call the Garden State home during the summer, according to data provided by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey.
The population, reports the APL, dwindles to 200,000 in the colder months, with the harsh climate killing off some cats and driving others away. Feral cat colonies breed frequently, and rapidly replenish their numbers.
The APL is the founder of Project TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), a strategy designed to help curb the state’s feral cat population. Feral cats are trapped, neutered, and vaccinated for rabies, then released into controlled areas where they are monitored.
While finding homes for the cats might seem more humane, the APL explains that this is unfeasible. The sheer volume of feral cats alone would make this difficult, but there is also the problem of behavior: Feral cats can never really be fully domesticated; as a result Project TNR sends only kittens and friendly adults into foster care.