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Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Trap Neuter Return is the most effective and humane way to reduce cat overpopulationDid you know free-roaming cats are responsible for the majority of kittens produced in the U.S.?

Unfortunately, many of the kittens from these litters eventually end up in shelters, where they’re at high risk for euthanasia. In fact, nearly 3 million healthy, adoptable pets are euthanized each year.

Spaying and neutering more cats stops these litters from happening.

How to control free-roaming cats
However, free-roaming cats pose a particular problem. These are “community” cats, often without identified owners to bring them in for spay/neuter surgeries.

That’s where trap-neuter-return (TNR) can make a real difference. It’s the only proven method to humanely and effectively control the free-roaming cat population, and it often directly reduces a community’s euthanasia rate by lowering the number of births and reducing intake into already crowded shelters.

The trap-neuter-return process goes exactly as it sounds:

  1. Set up humane traps to capture free-roaming cats in a targeted area
  2. Perform spay/neuter surgery on the cats
  3. Return the cats to their original territory

At the end of the TNR process, a free-roaming cat (whether feral, stray or owned) has been spayed or neutered, and received a rabies vaccination and a “left eartip” during surgery as an identifier.

The local benefits of TNR
Since TNR cats are not reproducing when they’re returned to their outdoor homes, their numbers start to naturally decline. TNR is a non-lethal method for free-roaming cat management — one that most community members prefer over euthanasia.

The cost of TNR can be significantly less for a government agency than the cost of trapping and removing free-roaming cats. This is because trapping and removing cats may require more of an animal control officer’s time, a mandatory holding period in the shelter, a euthanasia procedure and disposal of the body. So TNR, especially when nonprofits and citizens bear most of its costs, can save taxpayer dollars. As the community embraces TNR and cat intake into local shelters declines, more cost savings are realized in this way.

Animal control and public health officials will also be less burdened. This is because TNR helps to reduce or resolve many common complaints about the cats, such as yowling, fighting and spraying.

In addition, TNR cats tend to protect their food source when it is limited in size, which discourages new cats from moving into the territory. Cats can still serve the community by providing natural rodent control, which is beneficial in both urban and rural environments. Plus, communities where rabies is endemic among local wildlife are safer with a managed group of vaccinated, non-reproducing cats.

TNR works, and can make a real difference in your community. 


Levy, J.,  Humane strategies for controlling feral cat populations (2004) Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assn., Vol. 225, No. 9.

Chu, K., Anderson, W., U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray CatsLaw & Policy Brief (Bethesda, MD: Alley Cat Allies, September 2007)

 

Comments(14)

Teresa Scamardella

I like to help cats I have 4 rescued cats in my home and I like to know I can found a place in my area that is not expensive for neutering cat.
I living in Forked River NJ.

Teresa

kgaliotos

Hi Teresa, I'm happy to hear you want to fix your cats. You may find our low-cost spay/neuter clinic locator helpful.

Tiffany nguyen

who should I contact

Lisa Merchant

PLEASE, I need help getting a TNR program out where I live. I moved to Edenton, NC, three years ago. And it's heartbreaking, how many stray cats are running about. I leave food & water in all the differnt places where the cats live, nut I'm only one person. They need more than good & water, they need to be fixed. The people out here are irresponsible, they get a cat, and then let it roam without being fixed. Then they drop it off in the MANY cat colonies here in town. It's not just in Edenton, it's also in Hertford, and Elizabeth City NC, which is the two towns beside Edenton. I've left emails with a lot of different people, but no one seems to care. I found three cats that have been living behind a Foodlion, where my daughter works. I'm going to try to get them fixed out of my own money, even though I'm on disability and have six rescues of my own. One mama cat, has been there for 10 YEARS, poor thing. I really need a TNR in my area. Please, how can I get one out here!

Lisa Merchant

PLEASE, I need help getting a TNR program out where I live. I moved to Edenton, NC, three years ago. And it's heartbreaking, how many stray cats are running about. I leave food & water in all the differnt places where the cats live, nut I'm only one person. They need more than good & water, they need to be fixed. The people out here are irresponsible, they get a cat, and then let it roam without being fixed. Then they drop it off in the MANY cat colonies here in town. It's not just in Edenton, it's also in Hertford, and Elizabeth City NC, which is the two towns beside Edenton. I've left emails with a lot of different people, but no one seems to care. I found three cats that have been living behind a Foodlion, where my daughter works. I'm going to try to get them fixed out of my own money, even though I'm on disability and have six rescues of my own. One mama cat, has been there for 10 YEARS, poor thing. I really need a TNR in my area. Please, how can I get one out here! Please email me at llittlelucylou[at]yahoo[dot]com, thank you!

kgaliotos

Hi Lisa, thanks for wanting to help the cats in your community. PetSmart Charities offers TNR grants to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal welfare organizations, registered charities and some government entities. If you or someone you know might be interested in our grants, please check out this section of our website. 

James J. Devald

Good Afternoon! I am an environmental represent at a local County Health Department who supports TNVR. We have been working with some local groups to promote TNVR practice in our County. I believe that the V should be included when you refer to TNR as the V part is essential to local health officials.....TNVR.. Your site does indicate that the animals are vaccinated, but one would not know that from a quick glance at your literature. Thanks! Jim

kgaliotos

Hi James, thank you for your suggestion and your support of Trap-Neuter-Return. TNR is a term coined by the animal welfare industry, but I'll certainly pass this feedback along to our team. 

Sara B.

6-8-15:
Hello! I had NO idea something like TNVR existed. I found you today because I believe that, as "my own Nest becomes Empty" this time next year, I've found part of my next Purpose in Life! I have saved the Grant site and I'm going to proactively begin Planning to Apply. I own 4 Rescue cats myself, and each is one of my GREATEST JOYS--2 are brothers "littermates" & 2 are Mom /daughter-- Very close 2nds to my daughter and son!! ( :

I absolutely LOVE children and cats (animals). I sincerely Believe I'm being guided in the direction of my next "Purposes..." Working and Volunteering for and with both children and cats (animals!) THANK YOU SO MUCH, Pet Smart and TNVR Programs!! You are TREMENDOUS Blessings. I'm Honored and Overjoyed to have "discovered" you!!

Sincerely from my heart & Soul! Bless You
~Sara B~

kgaliotos

That's wonderful, Sara! We're happy to help. Thank you for wanting to help the cats in your community!

Michelle Lloyd

A fantastic organization that does a great deal for trap and neuter is www.alleycat.org

Go there!

Dottie

Trying to see if we have a tnr in my area of harford county maryland. I currently take care of five feral cats and would like to take care of getting them fixed for their safety.

Sharon

I am a big cat lover and have always owned them. I have taken in several strays over the years and I currently own 2 male cats. I just lost another one of my babies a few months ago who happened to be a stray I adopted 13 years ago and it was very painful and upsetting for me. Last week one of my cats spotted a cat in our yard and when I went out to shoo it away the poor little thing ran up to me instead!! She was starving and so friendly that I brought out food for her to eat because I noticed she had extremely large nipples too and assumed that she had had a litter recently. I didn't realize how recently until the next morning when I saw her sitting on my deck waiting for more food along with the 3 cutiest little babies ever! There was no doubt that this beautiful little mama had belonged to someone because she was extremely friendly and loving but apparently was tossed out when she got pregnant and forced to have her babies outside!! People that do that should be SHOT!! Because I already had 2 cats I couldn't afford to take in this family so I continued to feed them until I found a place that would take them all. My local ASPCA told me that they would take them, neuter/spay them and find them all a good home. They ARE a NO KILL shelter and because this family was young and all so beautiful they assured me it would take no time to find them all a good home to love them! I couldn't afford to take anymore cats in so I feel (and hope) I did the next best thing for them! It really broke my heart to not be able to keep them but it also really made me angry to know that someone made it be my responsibility to take care of them when this mama cat was clearly someone's pet that they just dumped out!!! If you want to have a pet you have a commitment to take care of them regardless of the circumstances or DON'T have any to begin with!! I was fortunate that my ASPCA was able to take them and I continue to support this organization. They are also a charity in need of your support as well.

Karen

Years ago I had a cat show up on my property and it was very friendly. I thought it belonged to someone because it looked very healthy. Now several years have passed and the cat is still around and will not come up to me anymore. It is a male and not fixed. We all know what that means. I don't know what to do because I cant keep it around because I have already recused 3. Now several weeks ago another cat was found roaming my property and I think she has been fixed and she is very friendly and needs a good home. I am feeding both cats and trying to keep interacting with the new one so that it doesn't get scared of people. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I cant keep them and I would like to find a good loving home. I love cats and have had them all my life.

Thank You
Karen W.

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