TRAP-NEUTER-RETURN (TNR) is a humane method of trapping community cats using live traps. Free-roaming strays, barn cats and feral (wild) cats living outdoors in cities, towns and rural areas are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, and spayed and neutered by veterinarians.
Kittens and social cats are adopted into good homes. Healthy barn and feral cats are returned to their familiar habitat after being properly treated.
TNR is the only scientifically proven method of reducing the feral cat population. TNR is the answer to effectively reducing the overpopulation of cats. TNR reduces most cat-related nuisances, poses no threat to public health and safety, and keeps rodent control in place. TNR programs are critical in the prevention of thousands and thousands of unwanted kittens from being born.
TNR is the single most effective way to help free-roaming cats because sterilized cats have improved health and life expectancy. They are less likely to get hit by cars, injured in fights with other animals, or to contract FeLV or FIV. The cat behavior that humans find objectionable (fighting, yowling, marking) is minimized, thus reducing the risk of removal or eradication.
TNR is a feral cat management method involving:
– Trap members of a colony
– Neuter or Spay (plus rabies, vaccination, and ear tipping*)
– Return ferals to original site
– Long-term caretaking/monitoring
* ear tipping is the process of removing ¼ inch straight line cut off tip of left ear. This allows colony caretakers to know of any new cats in the colony that need to be altered.
What is a feral cat?
– A ‘feral’ cat is unsocialized to humans. They originate from lost or abandoned cats.
– A ‘stray’ cat is living on his or her own, but remains socialized and adoptable.
What is a colony?
– Feral and stray cats tend to live in groups centered around a common food source
Why do you return the cats to the outside?
Because feral cats are wild animals and cannot usually be tamed in order to become a pet. If we trap a cat that appears to be friendly, if we have the monetary and volunteer resources to take him into our care, we will adopt him out. This is the same case with kittens.
What is the TNR process?
– Once you have contacted us and we determine the date for TNR you need to do the following.
-Obtain a humane trap and cover from us. A $50 deposit per trap is required. Detailed instructions on how to use the trap will be given at that time.
-Covered traps will be set out with food the morning of your spay/neuter date.
-Transport the cats to our vet partners for surgery. Dissolvable stitches are used for spays and do not require removal.
-Pick up the cats that same day, returning them to their habitat and release them.
-Return the traps and covers in the original condition to receive your deposit.
Great resources for information on TNR include:
• Cats Anonymous, Green Bay, Wisconsin: www.catsanonymous.org
• Alley Cat Allies, Washington DC: www.alleycat.org
• Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, UT: www.bestfriends.org
• Neighborhood Cats, New York, New York: www.neighborhoodcats.org
Great Handouts and Additional Resources
What is TNR?
How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter
Video: How to Build Cat Shelter and Feeding Area
Feeding Stations for Feral Cat Colonies
Feeding and Caring for Bottle Babies
Humane Trapping Instructions for Community Cats
Watch a step-by-step brief video here on how you can humanely trap an outdoor cat or feel free to print out our handout.
Action Kit: Advocating for TNR in Your Community
Best Friends Animal Society is a fantastic resource center for many animal welfare needs, to include TNR. If you are interested in helping your community to reduce the feral cat (community cat) population and start your own TNR program, please check out the resources below provided by Best Friends and Neighborhood Cats. Cat and dog overpopulation is a serious international issue. It takes only one person to start a movement to better the lives of animals. Are you willing to take that step?
- What to Do Before Approaching Your Local Government About TNR
- Frequently Asked Questions About TNR
- Community Cats and Trap/Neuter/Return: A Presentation to Local Government Officials About TNR
- TNR Handbook: How to Start Your Own TNR Effort
The Lost Companion is a volunteer-run, donation-supported, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible. We rely completely on the support of our communities to help homeless cats and kittens.