Trap-Neuter-Return Adventures in St. Louis

Rita Pruitt, Missouri, United States

My daughter Erin Pruitt and I started our journey 4 years ago, before we even knew what a “feral cat” was. All we knew was that several cats were eating from a dumpster & hanging around a high-traffic gas station/convenience store parking lot. They were at high risk of getting run over, clearly hungry, and winter was approaching. An internet search led us to St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach, who was already aware of that colony. They told us that a volunteer was actively trapping to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) (all foreign to us) but that she was having difficulty trapping the rest since there were “multiple feeders” (guilty!). We shared our contact info and asked them to share it with the other feeders, so that we might coordinate feedings. Thus began some great friendships, and our reluctant induction into the community of cat rescuers, TNR advocates and colony caretakers.

We’ve TNR’d many cats, networked several friendlies into rescue, sought vet care for sick or injured community cats, and developed a deep love and respect for feral cats, since then. We’ve also brought a few home to stay.

It is an ongoing adventure, that continues to teach us. There are so many roles in this process, and each person plays an integral part. We educate, support, pick each others brains. We share our triumphs, losses & frustrations. We pull together for and because of…cats!

We are currently colony caretakers for 45 “regulars” and a few more who show up sporadically. We educate and advocate for TNR as the only humane solution.