Part of Ireland's TNR Manual
How to Help Community Cats
It’s essential for your legal protection to get written consent from the felines’ primary caregiver. CATalyst's Consent Form is available for download in pdf format here (63Kb). Please feel free to adapt it to suit your needs.
Prior to Trapping
Itemise the cats you will be trapping on the back of the form. Itemising is preferable, but you can summarise and refer to your detailed itemisation on the Planning Form. Or simply photocopy your completed Planning Form and attach it to the Consent Form.
If there is a primary caregiver for the colony, have them read and sign the Consent Form. Emphasise the cats will be returned to the location they came from.
You will find a fair proportion of caregivers, though seeming to understand that the cats will be returned, will suddenly suffer from memory loss when you come to return them – they don’t want them back. This is not how TNR works and you must make this clear to them. The Consent Form not only protects you legally if there is any dispute, but is also a good way of emphasising that the cats will be returned.
The form should be signed on the front page, and any other pages initialled at the bottom where indicated. If you are using the Planning Form, or a photocopy of it, ensure each page is initialled by the caregiver.
We feel that it's important for the primary caregiver to arrange payment of some, if not all, of the TNR fee. To us the fee represents the caregiver's acknowledgement of their responsibility to the colony.
On completion of the initial TNR, it's a good idea to give the caregiver a summary of the actual costs involved, and a separate estimate of the costs if full prices had been charged by the vets and for voluntary time and expenses. Many people are unaware of the time, effort and expense that goes into TNR, and raising awareness is nearly always a good thing.
Note that CATalyst recommends a minimum TNR fee is €50 per cat, with discounts for larger colonies. This is cheaper than the full price of a spay/neuter and more expensive than the reduced fee we get from the vet. But it not only includes vet fees for the spay/neuter, eartipping, parasite control and any other necessary treatments but also hidden costs, such as transport, food, laundry, etc. It seldom covers the costs involved, but we feel it's a good representative figure that caregivers should be willing to pay.
Some caregivers will be less willing and/or able than others to pay for your TNR service. But it's important that some attempt is made on their part to meet the expenses - the colony is their moral responsibility after all (see Legal Responsibility). If, as they often do, they start whining, suggest ways they could fundraise amongst their neighbours, family and friends and refer them to our Fundraising and Colony Care pages.
However, at the end of the day, neutering the colony is more important in the long term than the caregiver's acknowledgement of their responsibility. You must not make a habit of paying for the TNR costs yourself - you'll be bankrupt in no time. Refer to our Fundraising pages for ideas on raising much needed funds.