What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?


A cat overpopulation management plan used worldwide for over 30 years in which feral (wild) cats and stray (previously domesticated who have gone astray or were abandoned) cats already living outdoors, usually in colonies, are humanely trapped, then evaluated, and spayed/neutered by veterinarians. Kittens and tame cats are adopted. Healthy adult cats too wild to be adopted are returned to their caretakers, usually the property owners where the cats live, who will continue to feed and provide them with shelter, usually in barns and out buildings.

Why does euthanizing cats not control their populations while TNR does?

Trapping and euthanizing cats is an ineffective method that has been used for decades with little or no success. As cats are territorial, removing cats from an area only encourages others to move in as well as increasing birth rates to make up for population loss. When spayed/neutered animals are returned to their home territory, the population usually stabilizes and then declines. This is because few if any new cats will move in and there will be no new births from spayed/neutered animals.

Why is TNR the most humane solution to cat overpopulation?

Feral cats form strong bonds with one another and with their home territory. With a food source and some shelter in bad weather, they are content outdoors. Mating and giving birth to endless litters of kittens is what makes their lives a misery. Spaying and neutering significantly improves this as male cats no longer fight/roam and female cats no longer have kittens. Eventually, the colony naturally dies out.

Tax dollars will be more efficiently spent having a TNR program.

It has been demonstrated in many jurisdictions in North America that new cat births dropped dramatically using TNR. This lessens the need to catch cats, which is labour intensive and the costs to euthanize them. It frees up the animal control officer to have more time for other pressing issues which translates into more efficient use of limited tax dollars.