What is the CES method to control cat colonies?

Stray cat colonies pose a risk to other species and a problem of coexistence with humans: dirt, bad odors or the transmission of diseases are some of its consequences, but we must not forget the risk that exists for the cats themselves for the fact of living unprotected and without guardianship on the street, at the mercy of attacks and violent attitudes.

The CES method is a strategy that has been successfully applied for decades in many parts of the world to control colonies of feral cats, a formula that tries to find a balance between coexistence and health of humans, cats and other species with live with them.

What is the CES method?

Stray cats
A group of cats in the street – Source: Depositphotos

CES is an acronym for Capture, Sterilization and Release which comes from the English term TNR (trap, neutral, return) which is sometimes also known as TNVR including the term vaccinate (vaccinate).

Great Britain was the first country to experiment with the CES method in the 1950s, followed by Denmark. The relative success of this strategy It led other countries like the United States to start it up since the 90s.

Since then, the CES method has been defended and applied by numerous public institutions, as well as private organizations that look for animal welfare and the improvement of coexistence with humans.

In Spain, we also find associations that advocate the implementation of this method for the control of feline colonies, but it is not yet fully established, also due to the Legal doubts regarding animal protection and the costs involvedthe two great difficulties for its effective application.

This is how the CES method is developed

Stray cats
A cat in the street – Source: Pexels

From a theoretical point of view, the CES method It goes through controlling the colonies of cats through their sterilizationin addition to their vaccination against the most relevant diseases that can be transmitted to humans and can affect the cats themselves.

But its implementation is often complex because it requires the collaboration of numerous people, in addition to the presence of professionals who are in charge of sterilization and vaccination, which, of course, has a cost. In any case, in essence, the CES method goes through three steps:

cats catch

It is not easy to catch stray cats since they are not used to interacting closely with humans. Therefore, it is appropriate that volunteers or professionals linked to animal shelters intervene to establish the appropriate method to start the capture.

Before deciding which cats should be captured you have to make sure that they are cats without human guardianship and have not already been trapped and sterilized. Generally, a mark is left on one ear to indicate that the cat has already gone through the CES method.

The trap cages They are the most common resource to capture cats: a cage with food that has a device to automatically close once the animal enters it. Either way, cat trapping is a “science” that requires patience, finesse, experience, and specialist support.

Sterilization and vaccination

At this point, the collaboration of veterinarians is essential. Cats are subjected to a check up to rule out serious health problems, and then proceed to sterilization and, where appropriate, vaccination. Remember that the main objective of the CES method is to control feline colonies through castration to prevent its spread: and it is that cats can have between two and three litters a year, which means a high growth of the colony if it is not controlled.

Likewise, vaccination, always desirable when adequate resources are available, protects cats and humans from the transmission of diseases such as rabies or toxoplasmosis, which, although very limited, is always a risk to be taken into account.

release the cats

The cats, already examined and sterilized, must be returned in the shortest possible time to the same place where they were captured. You have to remember that the street is your “home” and they are used to that environment that is their territory in which they live with other cats with whom they form a colony with their affective, social and self-protection ties.

Generally, cats are registered, either with a code inside an ear or by trimming the tip, so that they can be easily identified. In this sense, Ideally, the colony should be controlled by a specialized group of people. and that he knows the specimens so that he can inform if there are relevant changes such as the appearance of new cats.

Benefits of the CES method for the control of cat colonies

A cat in a cage

Taking into account the difficulty that exists to control groups of feral cats without resorting to violent solutions with the animals, the CES method is presented as the most positive experience for cat colonies thanks to the benefits it brings:

  • colony stabilization. A study by the University of Florida that applied the CES method for 11 years in the colony of the campus itself concluded that the number of cats decreased by 66%, with no new cats being born after the first four years of application.
  • Improved cat health. The control by veterinary professionals of stray cats will delve into the improvement of their health. Likewise, the benefit of the CES method is also suggested in reducing the stress of female cats due to mating and pregnancy. Of course, vaccination also means preventing diseases for cats and the transmission of diseases to humans.
  • Deaths of younger cats are avoided. Taking into account the high number of puppies that are born in uncontrolled feline colonies, it must not be forgotten that many of them do not exceed 6 months of age due to lack of food, accidents or illnesses. Likewise, adult cats live longer when sterilized.
  • Disturbances from mating rituals are reduced. Fights, meowing noise, stressed cats with wandering behaviors, etc. By sterilizing male and female cats, behaviors that harm coexistence with humans are reduced.
  • Alternative to slaughter. The defense of animal welfare involves avoiding radical solutions such as the sacrifice of stray cats. Whenever there is an effective and compassionate option, as is the case with the CES method, it must be implemented before opting for slaughter, without forgetting that these types of alternatives are punishable by law if they do not respond to an official mandate from the authorities. competent.

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