Imagine a world where every single cat has a home and no more cats and kittens die on the streets.
Imagine a world where people don’t desperately give away kittens for free who end up in the wrong hands where they suffer from abuse and neglect.
The first (and most important) step in minimizing the number of homeless cats/kittens is making sure the number of feral cats stops increasing exponentially.
Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is the only solution to stop the vicious cycle of suffering from the overpopulation of cats.
Very special people, much like the incredible woman we had the privilege of interviewing, are practicing TNR to make our dreams of a better world come true.
Jennifer Barnes, a TNR volunteer in New Jersey, has been actively recruiting volunteers in urban communities to undergo these life saving missions.
Keep reading to discover how one woman selflessly devoted her life to making a difference for both for humans and cats!
Where It All Began
Jennifer Barnes, also known as the TrapQueen or TNRQueen, has been doing TNR for over three years now.
It all began with something all of us share: a love for cats.
Jennifer wanted to get involved in animal advocacy in a way that would spark meaningful change.
While rescuing, adopting, and fostering were all great options, she wanted to get to the root of the problem.
Jennifer quickly realized that rescuing and fostering were only temporary solutions to the neglect and suffering she witnessed.
While they were still great ways to get involved in animal welfare, it was like putting a bandaid over a busted fire hydrant.
As long as there are feral cats that are not fixed, there will always be cats and kittens who end up in horrifying circumstances.
When she discovered how much of an impact she could make with TNR, she was ready to jump into action.
However, not everyone shared her enthusiasm.
Jennifer’s strong will did not let this discourage her.
“I realized I cannot just wait for people to do something,” Jennifer shared. “I had to do something on my own. So, I raised some money and bought humane traps.”
A Pure Heart
Jennifer’s goals with TNR are simple: she wants to save lives.
Jennifer knows that TNR is the only solution to overpopulation and the spread of disease.
“Fellow rescuers motivated me to be bold and start talking,” Jennifer shared. “They had my back when no one else did.”
Jennifer built the confidence and knowledge necessary to recruit others to join her mission.
How TNR Saves Lives
“Whether you trap one cat a month or 100 cats a month, you’re doing the same thing,” Jennifer said. “If you trap one cat, you are saving a life and preventing the pain and suffering that is yet to come from overpopulation.”
Two un-fixed cats can produce a staggering 420,000 kittens in 7 years.
Yes, you heard that right!
Between two cats, almost half a million unwanted kittens will be born.
And that’s a conservative estimate!
Not many people know the statistics of how devastating the consequences of overpopulation are.
However, animal control units are well aware of the statistics.
This is why most of them don’t even bother with TNR – they go straight to euthanasia for cats and kittens alike.
For animal control units, euthanasia is cheaper and more convenient than TNR.
They don’t advertise this to the public for obvious reasons, but now you know the truth.
This is horrific. These cats did nothing wrong. They are a product of neglect.
It is wrong to kill these innocent animals when they have no intention to harm us – cats actually help us by controlling pests.
Because of this, Jennifer believes education is the key to making people understand the horrific consequences of overpopulation.
When people learn how to prevent these cruel and unnecessary deaths, they feel compelled to get involved.
By ceaselessly continuing to educate and advocate, she hopes to get others involved in her community and beyond.
TNR in the Black Community
As a black woman living in a black community, Jennifer believes she has a unique opportunity to get people of color motivated about animal welfare.
“I was in the military, and we were taught that you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Jennifer shared. “Right now, in the animal welfare community, the black and the brown communities are the weakest link.”
However, the reasons for the lack of diversity in animal welfare are complex.
“Out of the racial inequalities that we are going through on a consistent basis in the nation, we just don’t have time to be worrying about animal life and their rights,” Jennifer shared.
It is also important to note that the majority of residents in urban communities work full time jobs and have families.
Many residents of urban communities rely on public transportation and cannot drive to feral colony locations.
But this doesn’t stop Jennifer.
She lives by example and uses public transportation to and from rescue sites!
While Jennifer has made time for animal advocacy on top of working full time, she acknowledges that it is a voluntary sacrifice not all can make.
This is where education and community building come into play.
How Jennifer is Changing TNR Forever
A diverse network of friends and volunteers in animal advocacy can help solve many of the obstacles that prevent members of urban communities from getting involved in TNR.
Jennifer is determined to address the obstacles that have prevented diversity in animal advocacy.
All it takes is the conscious decision to get involved.
From there, people can work together to start fundraisers that will cover the cost of spay/neuter as well as transportation.
However, none of this is possible without teamwork!
The people who Jennifer has inspired continue to inspire others, and as a result, the black TNR community continues to grow.
It is the gift that keeps on giving!
Jennifer believes it is important for the black community to know that there are like-minded individuals who are ready to support them.
This is why Jennifer has devoted her life to recruiting members of the black community in animal welfare.
Jennifer firmly believes that a strong, diverse community of advocates will spread TNR to a new demographic that will change the lives of cats who would otherwise be neglected.
TNR in Urban Communities
In regards to urban communities as a whole, Jennifer has recognized first hand what happens when no one gets involved in animal welfare.
Cats will reproduce rapidly at alarming rates.
Then animal control will step in, capture cats, and euthanize all of them at the community members’ expense.
“When it comes to overpopulation, you’re going to be involved either voluntarily or involuntarily,” Jennifer shares.
“This affects everyone. When animal control gets a complaint and is called to your block to trap a cat, they take the cat to a shelter and euthanize it,” says Jennifer. “Guess who pays for that? Your tax dollars.”
By voluntarily being a part of the animal welfare community, individuals can take steps to ensure that public funding goes to things the community actually needs.
Euthanizing cats is not one of them!
Diversity in Animal Advocacy
Jennifer believes diversity is important in every field – animal advocacy is no exception.
“I don’t believe that there should be any profession that is only one race,” Jennifer said. “I think everyone should be involved because everyone can do something for the team.”
By including individuals with diverse backgrounds in animal advocacy, the whole community benefits from a variety of skills, experiences, and new ways of thinking and communicating.
Diversity plays an essential role in generating innovative thoughts and ideas that tackle problems from a new perspective.
“Animal welfare is small as it is,” Jennifer explained. “You want all races to come together to be a voice for the voiceless.”
Education is Key
Like many of us, Jennifer believes that education and advocacy are two phenomenal ways of getting more people involved in TNR.
Things like TNR classes and workshops have proven to be tremendously effective in empowering others to help their feral cat populations.
She also believes appealing to people’s hearts can move individuals to action.
“What appealed to me was compassion and empathy for the animals. I couldn’t stay silent and watch was happening to these cats,” Jennifer shared.
When you learn the horrors that cats face without TNR, the decision to take action becomes clear.
A Bright Future
Jennifer’s sole mission is to save cats and and improve communities through TNR.
One particular way she hopes to continue to doing this is by getting more people in the black community involved.
“My mission is to stay within the black community and get them involved, hoping that I can inspire other races to get involved in animal welfare too,” Jennifer said.
Overall, Jennifer’s goal is to educate, advocate, and encourage others to take action.
Whether it’s practicing TNR, rescuing, fostering, donating, volunteering, or simply sharing educational posts on social media, everyone can do their part to make this world a better place – one cat a time!
“People ask me about my name. I call myself a Trap Queen because I am a woman that traps, spays, and neuters feral & homeless cats” Jennifer explained.
Part-Time Rescuer, Full-Time Nurturer
Jennifer’s work doesn’t just stop at TNR.
She fosters cats that others would typically turn away.
If Jennifer traps cats that have the potential to be socialized or have a condition that makes them unable to return to their colony, she will welcome them into her home with open arms.
These cats spend as long they need with her learning to love and trust humans before being adopted or moving to a sanctuary.
True love requires patience, and Jennifer has plenty of it.
Sometimes these cats stay with her for years before moving on to their forever homes.
When Jennifer sees a spark, she is determined to follow it.
Help Our Hero – Join Jennifer’s Mission
Jennifer is truly an hero. She served her country in the military, and now she will serve her country again through animal advocacy.
When the pandemic struck, she personally purchased and delivered food and supplies to people in need.
Jennifer reminds us that overpopulation is a huge contributing factor to animal abuse.
When there are too many unwanted cats and kittens, they inevitably fall into the wrong hands.
This is why we come across horrible stories of cats being used as bait or kittens found in a trash bags in the middle of busy roads.
TNR is the only solution to putting an end to this misery.
If you want to contribute to meaningful change, donate to Jennifer and help stop the vicious cycle of overpopulation that plagues cats and kittens across our country.
Jennifer has a heart of gold that takes her rescue work to a new level.
She is an independent rescuer who practices TNR on her own time and money.
Jennifer is entirely self funded. Outside of her basic needs, every penny of her hard earned time and money goes toward TNR rescue.
“My number one priority is the cats. I take the subway and won’t buy a car because that money is for the cats,” Jennifer shared with National Kitty.
Anything you donate to her will spay/neuter a cat that would otherwise suffer on the streets, be euthanized, or fall victim to abuse.
You may also donate food and supplies directly to her from her Amazon Wishlist.
Be sure to follow Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all her outstanding work!
Please share this article to inspire others to join Jennifer’s mission.
“I’m not associated with anyone else who use the names ‘Trap Queen’ and ‘Trap King’. I am my own brand an it’s just me,” Jennifer explained.
“Be careful who you donate to. There are many ‘Trap Queen’ brands out there that are not associated with me,” Jennifer warns.
“What makes my brand stand out is that my version of the Trap Queen represents change, diversity, and breaking stereotypes. Doing the imPAWsible to help a feline out. It’s about making no excuses about whether or not you’re capable of helping an animal. Just doing your best to make it happen. Trap Queen represents what a true heroine of animal welfare is,” Jennifer explained.
Thursday 30th of September 2021
Wonderful work for cats and for doing the necessary outreach to involve a more diverse population. So many cats in need and to get more people helping them is excellent. One does not need to have a particular skin color to have compassion.I once again take issue with the term 'euthanize' though. Healthy animals are not euthanized, a term that means a gentle death. They are killed and using the word euthanization to kill animals simply for convenience is whitewashing. Thank you, Jennifer.for all you are doing. I am going to strive to donate to help you out. Animals in all sorts of situations in every city, state, and country are in need and it gets a bit overwhelming to give money..
Wednesday 10th of March 2021
Thank you for saving this precious beautiful cats, you are a true hero in many ways . Thank you for your Service and our freedom.God Bless You .?❤️?
Thursday 25th of June 2020
In the frustrating times we are experiencing. I would love to see this be on national news. How one black female is making a difference. I do this same thing in rural Georgia.. I am white. We need more diversity in TNR and Jennifer is the the person to reach out to others. We need help in our African American communities.
Thursday 25th of June 2020
Jennifer has a big heart of gold she's a wonderful woman keep up the good work you are an Angel for all those poor animals .thank you for all you do and thank you for sharing God bless you have a great day and stay safe my dear.
Kathleen in NJ
Tuesday 23rd of June 2020
Nice article, Joshua!!! I know Jennifer, and she is selfless, and she deserved this nod. Thank you for spreading the word about her good work!