The Importance of TNR

So far on Three Chatty Cats I have tried to highlight the positive side of rescuing by presenting cat rescue groups, foster parents, people who use their photography talents and those who do TNR. But rescuing cats and kittens isn’t always bright and cheery. And today’s post highlights the importance of TNR – and how it doesn’t always work out for kittens born to feral cats.

When I was in contact with SLU Campus Cat Coalition regarding their profile, Leyna shared with the me the story of two kittens, who sadly did not make it. And to reiterate the importance of TNR, I would like to share with you those two stories now. Although this is a somber post, I feel it is valuable to share. So, here is the story of Sundae and Button, who have both crossed the rainbow bridge.

Leyna shares with us Sundae and Button

TNR_SundaeIt’s not often that we lose kittens, but when we do, it only reinforces the importance of our mission. A few months ago, we lost sweet little Sundae. She was found in a hay bale at just about a week old, estimated to be born around September 1st, 2015. When Sundae stopped growing and was lagging behind her siblings, I took her in to give her some extra TLC, which was in early October. She did great at first, but one day went downhill very quickly. We brought her to three different vets within the span of about 12 hours. But in the end, her little body couldn’t fight anymore. The vet suspected that Sundae had underlying congenital problems that caused her to decline so quickly without any obvious cause.

Sundae was euthanized on October 29, 2015.

Photos of Sundae 

Sundae’s death came one day after the anniversary of finding Button. Button was a tiny kitten that we found not long after our organization started. All by herself, late at night, scrounging for food at one of our campus feeding sites, we discovered what we thought was a kitten less than five weeks old. This was on October 28, 2014. Button was named after Benjamin Button because she looked and sounded like an old cat, but at the size of a baby kitten. Little did we know how spot-on that was.


Button meowing shortly after she was found.

While Button was the happiest, silliest kitten we’ve ever known, she never really thrived health-wise. She wasn’t growing at the normal rate, and she would have periods of lethargy that prompted many days in the hospital. After a few months of this up and down routine, we visited an internal medicine specialist. It turns out that Button got the jackpot of congenital issues. The reason she was so tiny was because she had a very rare condition called Congenital Hypothyroidism. She was essentially a dwarf. She wasn’t completely there mentally either and was mostly deaf, among other things.

Despite Button’s issues, veterinarians gave us reason to hope that tiny Button could possibly live a happy and pain-free life of 2 to 3 years. X-rays showed that she was actually around seven months old, which means she was three months old when we found her, not five weeks like we first thought. Her growth plates had almost completely fused, but she was less than two pounds and would stay that way.

Sadly, a few weeks later, Button began to have difficulty breathing. It was the final obstacle that she could not overcome and we had to say goodbye to our sweet little girl.

Button was euthanized on January 20, 2015.

I only had Button for four short months, but it felt like years. I got so incredibly attached to this funny little girl. Her personality isn’t something I can fully put into words. She always had everyone laughing.

The short lives of Sundae and Button both make it painfully obvious the importance of TNR. Cats that reproduce out of control can easily have kittens with health issues. Whether it be as simple as overcrowded teeth, or as serious as a fatal congenital condition, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of feral kittens born with serious issues will go unnoticed, suffer and die because no one is there to care for them.

While only with us for a short time, both Sundae and Button left a huge impact on our lives.

Button playing

SLU Campus Cat Coalition would like to recognize that Button’s vet care was paid for by Cat Haven. She wouldn’t have made it nearly as long as she did without them. You can visit Cat Haven’s website or connect with them on Facebook.

Thank you to Leyna for sharing the stories of Sundae and Button.  If you would like to support the SLU Campus Cat Coalition and their TNR efforts, you can visit their YouCaring and Amazon Wish List pages. Or you can email for more information on how to help the CCC and their community cats! You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Catastic (@slu.campuscats) and Tumblr.

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29 thoughts on “The Importance of TNR

  1. Although it is a painful story, rescuers of SLU Campus Cat Coalition have done a wonderful thing. These two angels, although they have been little time with them, have lived with so much love.
    Sundae and Button have changed the lives of the rescuer, and the rescuer gave them the possibility of a wonderful life. I know that they will live forever in our hearts.
    Thank you.

  2. Beautiful, yet sad stories. Purrseidon and Mr. M were both born feral. To this day, M has health issues due to his years of ‘living free’, but we snatched Purrseidon when she was about a month old – too young, really, but one littermate had just drowned and a dog was giving her a violent shake… figured that catnapping her too young was the lesser evil.

          1. Our neighbor had planned to adopt the sister once she reached 6 weeks old – the sister was a little reddish kitten, who the neighbor had named Lucy Fur … I tend to use past pets fictitiously in The Sea Purrtector series, so used the name in Purr-a-noia and The Vi-Purrs, which will debut tomorrow.

  3. My heart is aching and breaking after reading about these adorable kittens. The care they received was out of the deepest compassion and love that anyone could give. I was deeply moved by the videos. These kittens had such a zest for life. It is very sad that they didn’t make it….. but on the other side of the story they are happy and well at the Rainbow Bridge playing with other kittens that JUST didn’t make it. Thanks for a very touching and important post.

  4. At least those little kitties had some joy and love in their lives. Think how painful if they would have died on the street. Is that the Cat Haven in Louisiana?

  5. Although this post is hard to read it has such an important message. We lost 4 kittens in the last 3 years & came close to losing several others. All were born to feral cats & already had so much working against them, plus were only a week or so old when they got here. It’s incredible how attached you can become to these wee babies in such a short time & it’s overwhelmingly heartbreaking when they don’t make it. Even when there’s nothing humanly possible that could save them, you still feel a sense of guilt that you couldn’t help them more. TNR is so important – thank you for helping us remember that. And thank you to the SLU Campus Cat Coalition for all they do! <3

  6. I have lost more fosters than I care to recount. Fortunately due to the widespread message of how important neutering is, our homeless cat population is much more manageable and I haven’t had one die in a while.

  7. So sorry to hear about Sundae and Button passing away. Genetics can be really cruel. You are right – TNR can help to keep the cat population healthy and under control.

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