PawsWatch is a group of volunteers that provides veterinary care and shelter to improve the lives of feral and unowned cats. Founded in 1997, PawsWatch is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Pawswatch has provided veterinary care to more than 16,000 cats as of 2012. Before the inception of PawsWatch, the life of cats found living in colonies in Rhode Island neighborhoods was bleak — having to fight the elements of nature, living and reproducing in starvation and squalor, and often facing poisoning or mass roundup for death. Our goal is not to personally help every feral cat, but to teach Rhode Islanders to help the cats in their own neighborhoods.
There is new hope for feral and unowned cats through a new approach called TNRM (See below), which is proving to be a better way to treat this once condemned population. PawsWatch is part of a large and growing grassroots effort to transform “street cats” into healthy managed colonies, which decline through attrition. We provide resources, equipment, and guidance to make this goal possible. We believe that lasting change can come only from a widespread foundation of community involvement.
What is TNRM?
TNRM stands for “Trap, Neuter, Return, Monitor.” Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane, effective approach for feral cats. Feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap-Neuter-Return improves their lives and their relations with the community: the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop. For a wealth of information regarding TNR, click here to visit the Alley Cat Allies website.
Each year, PawsWatch provides veterinary care (spay/neuter and vaccinations) to approximately 2,000 cats across Rhode Island. We work with the Rhode Island Community Spay/Neuter Clinic in Warwick and local veterinarians who provide discounted services. Volunteers trap feral cats, transport them to veterinary appointments, and return them to their familiar habitat after they have recovered. Volunteers ensure the cats have food and shelter, and also monitor the colonies. Our goal is to transform the population of street cats, also referred to as feral cats, into healthy, managed colonies. Those colonies then decline through attrition, reducing the number of cats killed or euthanized in shelters.
PawsWatch encourages Rhode Islanders to assist the cats on their own property, with our help. We are not a shelter, and we do not take in owned or stray cats; however, we may facilitate the adoption of cats and kittens being cared for by our friends and neighbors.
None of this is possible without volunteers and donations!