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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Mattfield

How to Seek Help for TNR or Cat Rescue on Facebook

There are so many heartbreaking posts on Facebook. It can be overwhelming to see how many people are desperately seeking help through social media. With a crumbling shelter system, insufficient animal control, and rescues completely overwhelmed with the consequences, competition is stiff for help through Facebook connections.


Don't despair! Many of our supporters, Feral Fixers, and just good cat-loving friends reached us through Facebook--but we know there are so many more people out there looking for all sorts of help. Here are some tips to make your calls for help reach much farther and faster.

 
  • Pick the right groups. Some groups are more animal-friendly than others. If you are worried about nasty neighbors who hate cats, maybe NextDoor is not a good idea. There are many groups dedicated to rehoming, foster, rescue and TNR on Facebook. They are location specific and many are private, requiring you to answer relevant questions so that the group remains a safe space. Above all, read the rules and make sure that your request is allowed. If you are unsure, you can ask the admins before posting. If you need recommendations, please reach out to us through Facebook messenger!

 

  • Location, location, location. Nothing ruins a nice detailed post like omitting the location. States are big, and so are counties. Don't push yourself to the bottom of the list by waiting for someone to ask in comments "which town?" Provide your town, county, and state in the post for help. For the cats' and your safety, never post an exact address.

 
  • Spayed/neutered/vetted? If you are rehoming, one of the first questions people should ask is whether the cat is fixed and vetted. Put this information right in your first post. A fixed and vetted cat is much easier to place. The same goes for any found cat for whom you are seeking a rescue.

 

  • How many ARE there? Especially for people looking for help with TNR or outdoor cats - readers need to know how many! Some people may be able to help with a large project, others cannot. This is another case where a "safe" group is a must - for example, do not post your request for help with TNR in the Audobon Society, or share your 7 unfixed cats' photos in your local animal lovers' group that may or not be TNR-friendly. Look for groups in your area that focus on TNR.

 
  • Offer as much as you can. The less you are willing to do, the harder it is to find someone that can fill your order for help. Instead of saying, "I need someone to come TNR these cats I'm feeding," offer to be part of the process:

    • Are you willing to learn to trap if someone teaches you?

    • Can you do any of the transport or holding of the cats pre- and post-op?

    • Are you able to cover any portion of the bills or donate? Or fundraise? Narrowing your request and lessening the burden in any way will attract a larger group of people able to help you. For example, there are many people who do not mind trapping if you can drive the cats to the clinic and pay.

 
  • Do NOT resort to emotional blackmail, such as:

    • "I need someone to take this cat by Saturday or I will throw him outside."

    • "I am moving in a week and need this cat out by Thursday because I am leaving."

    • "She and her kittens will be killed at the kill-shelter by the killing officer in three days if a rescue does not step forward."

Two of these statements threaten cruelty to animals. The third is misinformation, as New Jersey state law requires stray hold. We have found time and time again in our research and open record requests that many NJ shelters called "High Kill" by the Facebook community actually only euthanized suffering or sick cats this year. One example is Paterson, from which reputable rescues pull cats after intake, avoiding euthanasia. You can read the 2023 Intake Log here:


Paterson AC 2023
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Download • 3.48MB

Emotional blackmail like the statements above are made in desperation caused by last minute panic of eviction, domestic issues, or financial distress. At best, they repel readers. Emotional blackmail triggers people who are in no position to intake cats such as hoarders. At worst, it tells the community that you don't care what happens to the cat - enter criminals and Craigslist ads.


If you do not find help online, and your only option left is the municipal shelter, it is not the end of the line. Rescues can still pull from the shelter during stray hold and after, and you are not abandoning a cat outside to die terrified and alone. For help navigating animal control and the shelter systems in NJ, read here. If you are curious about the shelter and animal control policies of your town, we can help you with information. Some is already listed in our "Feeding Cats In...." series.

 

If you are in an underserved community and cannot afford TNR at the low-cost clinic, the 50 Feral Fix program may be a solution for you. If you're willing to become a caretaker, read and apply here. Make sure to answer ALL questions and follow the above advice. Watch for e-mails, messages, and phone calls back from us so that we can help you.

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