About Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)
Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a non-lethal sterilization method to reduce the number of feral cats in the environment both immediately and for the long term. It is a comprehensive, ongoing program in which stray and feral cats already living outdoors in cities, towns, and rural areas are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, and sterilized by veterinarians. Efforts are made to get kittens and tame (stray) cats adopted into good homes. Healthy adult cats too wild (feral) to be adopted are returned to their familiar habitat. Cats that are ill or injured beyond recovery are not returned to the environment.
TNR was brought to the United States from Europe and the United Kingdom in the late '80s. The practice of TNR grew rapidly in the '90s when Alley Cat Allies began providing information and assistance to people caring for feral cats who recognized that their numbers must be controlled and reduced through sterilization. In communities where TNR is widely embraced, feral cat numbers have dropped.
TNR programs operate largely or entirely through the dedicated efforts of committed volunteers. TNR works because it breaks the cycle of reproduction. In general, the cost of sterilization and returning a feral cat is less than half the cost of trapping, holding, killing, and disposing of a feral cat. TNR protects public health and advances the goal of reducing the numbers of feral cats in the environment. The public supports humane, non-lethal TNR as the long-term solution to feral cat overpopulation.
There are many local and national TNR programs available.