What is TNR?

community cat with tipped ear

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the humane way to manage feral and free roaming cats, preventing the breeding that leads to even more feral cats.

With TNR, cats are caught with humane box traps, spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and then returned where they were found to live out their lives under the eye of a watchful human caretaker who provides food, water and shelter as necessary. Cats that have been “TNRed” have their left ear tipped, meaning that the tip of one ear is clipped while the cat is under anesthesia. A tipped ear identifies a cat as part of a managed TNR program, and will safeguard him if ever re-trapped.

Spaying and neutering colonies not only prevents more kittens from being born, but also reduces the nuisance behaviors often associated with feral colonies—spraying/marking by males, fighting, noisy mating encounters, etc.

Why Not Trap-and-Remove?
Stray and feral cats populate an area because there is something about the area that supports them. There is food; there is shelter. There is something that provides them some safety and support. If you begin to trap-and-remove, other cats that are lingering on the fringes of the area will begin to move into the territory and will fill the space left behind. This is called the Vacuum Effect. The new cats integrate into the area, they produce more kittens and this leads to renewed calls for trap-and-remove. The cycle just repeats over-and-over, with no end in sight.

Why not adopt these cats to homes?
At its essence, TNR is not about rescuing and rehoming cats. It is about population control, and permanently reducing the number of feral cats in an area. It is about lowering the intake and euthanasia rates in shelters, and creating better, less hostile environments for cats.

It is important to realize that trying to domesticate a cat that has never lived indoors, and has been quite content and happy outdoors would be no different than trying to make a raccoon or a squirrel a household companion. You may succeed somewhat, but never fully, and only with a great deal of time and patience. More importantly, the cat would no longer be permitted to live in a manner that suits her best. Many well meaning people feel they are "saving" a feral cat by bringing her indoors, only to soon learn the cat is unhappy, and spends a life hiding under the bed and living in constant fear.

What happens after TNR?
TNR does not stop at the return after spay and neuter. Management of the colonies is key to the cats’ well being. Across the city, hundreds of volunteers care for these cats by trapping newcomers for surgery, and keeping a careful eye on the population.

You can be a part of this life-saving mission by joining us.

Volunteers are needed to feed colonies on daily basis, assist with trapping projects, transport pre- and post-surgery, and assist here in the clinic for recovery. For more information on joining our program, please give us a call or drop us an email.


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