Street Cats in Lisbon – trap-neuter-return
In Lisbon (especially in the old town of Alfama) you will see many street cats when you walk around. Most of these cats are quite tame and some will even follow you for a while. You may think now: but street cats are usually shy, aren’t they? Not these cats! This is most likely because they are fed on a regular basis by quite a number of local residents. They are therefore accustomed to people and the residents also leave them alone. You can see that people here don’t react aggressively to the cats.
Taking a closer look at the street cats of Lisbon
If you look closely at the cats, you will immediately notice that most of them are missing a tip of their ear. The reason they miss the tip of the air, is that this marks that they have been captured, neutered and placed back in their own territory (you call this trap-neuter-return in English; TNR).
Trap Neuter Return is the most animal-friendly and humane way to prevent overpopulation of cats. And because of this, no cats from outside come to take over the territory. The TNR method also ensures that there is less stress among the cats. If cats are not neutered, they will always look for partners to mate. This entails stress and (unwanted) mating behaviour such as spraying and fighting the males.
Not everyone agrees with the TNR method, as people believe that it is more humane to capture and euthanise the cats. However, this is more focused on animals which are sick or injured and would then be put back on the streets. Which is not the case here in Lisbon. In Lisbon the street cats are in principle well cared for and fresh drinking water and food is provided by the local residents. So we dare to make the claim that the TNR method works well here in Lisbon.
We really love walking around Lisbon and seeing all these street cats walking around and being fed by the locals. What is your perspective on the TNR method? And do you enjoy coming across street cats in Lisbon? Let us know in the comments or send us a message!