For Bridget's senior thesis presentation she designed a trap for practicing trap, neuter and returning (TNR). After starting research in September of 2019, she started to identify pain points in the traditional humane animal trap used to dispose of pests that people use for TNR currently. The end design uses a ramp with a trigger plate to close the trap door after the cat goes through to get the bait in the back of the trap. The trap helps the cat feel calm and has a squeeze cage mechanism so the vet can administer the anesthetic through the mesh on the sides and doors of the trap. A heater also can be placed beneath the trap to warm and regulate the body temperature of the cat.
Background: Throughout my work, I have become very close with a vet who currently is working towards trap neutering and releasing cats (TNR). At my home, Buddy, a stray, lives outside and we are working on TNR with him. This process has taught me a lot about stray cats and highlights all the flaws in the TNR system. Currently, people use the same pest traps you would use to trap a raccoon, but cats are very different. The feral cat gets trapped and taken to a vet where they get operated on and put back into this trap for the person to release back into the wild. When doing this process cats can revert back to their fully feral roots and traumatize the cats for a long length in time. In general, one female cat can have around 75 babies in their lifetime, this exponentially affects the stray cat population and this emphasizes the importance of spay and neutering stray cats. Currently PETA estimates that there are between 60 to 100 million homeless cats in the US. this problem not only puts cats in danger, but it is a problem in many communities that goes overlooked. These current traps create a danger to the animal, where they can get snarred on the side of the trap or hurt themselves when distressed inside. The traps make it difficult for people to pick up and keep steady with the lack of ergonomics, plus they have holes everywhere where someone could get scratched by the animal, that potentially could have illnesses. Another section of the trap that does not work for cats going through the TNR process comes with no space for fecal matter or urine for when the animal in the trap might be brought in for the night until the person trapping the cat has an appointment at the vet the next day.
Thesis Statement: The traps used for Trap, Neutering, and Releasing (TNR) are designed for pest control and not TNR. By using the traps for something other than their intended purpose, of cheaply relocating or disposing of pests. This poses a danger to the cats, people trapping and veterinary staff when all are using a non-ideal process for a common practice. These three users in the process all require specific needs that pest control traps do not fulfill. The solution would result in less injuries, quicker procedure times, and a more relaxed experience for the cat.
Hypothesis: By seizing the market opportunity in creating a TNR specific trap, a product can be created that meets the needs of each user (the cat, vet and trapper) in each step of the process. In response to a trap specifically designed for the entirety of the process, less injuries will result, less trauma to the animal, and a quicker procedure time. Not to mention the simplified process will encourage new people to partake and believe in the practice.