Warszawa ( mapka )
ul. Chrzanowskiego 13
tel.: 535 870 225

The idea concerning the urban cats in Warsaw - practices of the city of Warsaw

After challenging an old model of shelters by the Animal Protection Act of 1997 (a ban to put animals to the death due to their homelessness), and after bad experience with maintaining a city shelter by the Foundation "Animals" in 1997-1999, the Warsaw shelter avoids cats' admissions and since 2005, the City Hall has supported regularly carers and non-governmental organizations dealing with urban cats, with an emphasis on spaying/neutering. An active support for cat carers (known as "caregivers") occurs in two ways:
  • Distribution of the cat food and vouchers for spaying/neutering treatments among caregivers registered in district offices,
  • Donations to NGOs for spaying/neutering treatments, medical treatments, feeding and improving the living conditions of the urban cats
After many years of practising this policy we clearly see its limitations. They affect the efficiency of the use of the scarce resources allocated for dealing with the problem of the urban cats and delay the prospect of a visible reduction of their population and improvement of their living conditions.
  1. continuity of action
    Distribution of the food and vouchers (among registered "caregivers") and grants (among organizations) is subjected to procedures that make these resources available only in some parts of the year, sometimes - in a short period. Meanwhile, the cats biology dictates a need for the continuity of this action which otherwise is ineffective. When the cats' caregiver cannot provide its charges with spaying/neutering treatments in the early spring (the period of the contests and tenders), or when he/she looses this possibility already in the end of summer (e.g., the exhaustion of vouchers in the districts), the colony of cats quickly restores full reproductive potential, and next season the objective of reducing the cat population is on the same level as it had been a year before. This discourages caregivers to set themselves ambitious goals and promotes only focus on feeding and rescuing specific individuals.
  2. availability of resources
    The individual "caregiver", if registered, can spay/neuter the urban cat free of charge. However, he must fulfil and synchronize multiple conditions:
    1. obtain the voucher,
    2. reserve a date for the treatment in the veterinary clinic,
    3. manage to catch the cat, and deliver it to the clinic,
    4. possibly provide good conditions for care of the cat after its surgery
    For the average person, all these factors create an obstacle difficult to overcome. This narrows the circle of people performing TNR policy to only those highly-motivated lovers of animals.
  3. clinics
    The Polish market of the veterinary services is very young. Pet clinics started to appear only in the 80's. Currently, there are many veterinary clinics competing with one other, but they are mostly small and they do not provide the placement for the animals after surgery. The long lasting supervision after the spaying treatment (especially in case of female cats), is necessary especially if the untamed cat is about to return to difficult living conditions. Admission of the urban cats to those clinics is rather troubling, because veterinarians often lack experience in dealing with the untamed cats, and those animals create an extraordinary sanitary risk for those clinics that focus on veterinary care for domesticated cats.
  4. confusion of motives and goals

The TNR policy is so specific that it cannot be effective as long as its implementation is organizationally mixed with an achievement of other objectives and motives. The city possesses a comprehensive list of the tasks and procedures for dealing with different animals in different situations. The priority for all urban cat caregivers, individual or organized, is to rescue the animal, provide it with the care and necessary medical treatments, or just feed it. A strong empathic motivation can manifest itself even in a condemnation of spaying/neutering treatments, especially of the TNR practice which, after all, "hurts" individuals.

For the effective practice of TNR policy it is necessary to separate it from all other actions of helping animals. Otherwise, the overall motive of any assistance provided to each animal will exhaust resources and strengths for rearing litter, socializing, finding homes for the captured cats and intensive treatment of animals that are unlikely to ever recover, etc. Or vice versa, with a goal of healing of the cat population, one would have to examine all captured cats suspected of incurable diseases, though observing them for the longer time during quarantine, repeating tests and then putting many of them to the death. The desire to consider all the objectives, motives of care and ways to help, brings us back to the concept of the large, multifunctional and costly shelter for cats or more of these shelters. These in turn, even if established, would not be able to deal with the influx of animals, as long as their reproduction had not been under control. Inevitably, at the end they would become for cats exactly the same as the present shelter.

So far, the attitude of both, the municipality and caregivers assumes interaction for the full care. However, given the limited resources, it undermines reaching the goal of challenging this hopeless situation. The TNR policy focuses on a narrow range of activities. It seems questionable from the point of view of the care for the individual animal, however, it is the key factor for the effectiveness of care for all of them.

The scope of activities and procedures adopted in the frame of the TNR policy requires strict selection and compliance, and in the existing frame and system of help distribution of the municipality it is not possible. This applies to both the vouchers and donations provided to the organizations as well as the range of services purchased in the tenders for the clinics.

ARGOS Foundation for Animals, 04-886 Warszawa, Garncarska 37A st., KRS: 0000286138
+48 22 615 52 82 | e-mail: fundacja@argos.org.pl | http://www.argos.org.pl
bank account: SWIFT: PKOPPLPW PL 47 1240 6133 1111 0000 4808 5915
The KOTERIA neutering clinic for feral cats in Warsaw, Chrzanowskiego 13 st., Warszawa, +48 535 870 225
Manager of KOTERIA Anna Wypych: tel. 603 651 044 | Chief vet Iwona Kłucińska-Petschl tel. + 48 502 642 932