Counting Cats

Years ago, it was common for media accounts about community cats to remark—typically with a tone of some astonishment—that a caregiver had a name for every cat in their care. For caregivers, of course, and anybody familiar with TNR, this was no surprise at all. Indeed, it would be surprising not to have names for the cats you see on a regular basis.

For whatever reason, I don’t see this element included in news stories anymore. It’s not because caregivers have stopped naming cats, though—I’m sure of that much. Such frequent, close interactions also allow caregivers to track the regulars, identify newcomers, and note disappearances. As a caregiver myself, I find this ability—to provide a reasonably accurate count of the cats we see regularly, often on a daily basis—rather unremarkable.

For some TNR opponents, though, there is simply no way that such counts can be trusted. After all, they argue, most of us lack the training to provide accurate and reliable population estimates. This is apparently what it’s come to: faced with empirical evidence that poses a direct threat to their dogmatic belief that “TNR doesn’t work,” these people have begun to dispute our ability to count cats. Read more