Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) is the humane approach to controlling overpopulation
of feral and stray cats. TNR has been found to be the only effective way to humanely
control the reproduction of feral cats. Feral cats are trapped in a humane live trap
(Have-A-Heart trap) and transported to the PPAW clinic where they are neutered or spayed,
ear tipped, and inoculated for rabies and distemper. They are then brought back to their
colony where they were trapped and released.
Why release the cat and not bring it to the shelter to be adopted? Feral cats
that are taken to the Animal Control Shelter are euthanized. They are not socialized
and are not adoptable. Most feral cats are euthanized before they even get to the shelter.
Feral cats have a home – outdoors! And although they appreciate a can of cat food, they
don’t want to snuggle with you on your couch.
Catch and kill does not work. Cats choose to reside in locations for two reasons:
there is a food source—(intended or not)—and shelter. When cats are removed from a location,
survivors breed to capacity and/or new cats move in and begin the reproduction cycle again.
This is called the vacuum effect.
Trap/Neuter/Return does work. No more kittens. The population stabilizes and their
lives are improved. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling or
fighting, stop. The cats are vaccinated before being returned to their outdoor home. Not
only does Trap/Neuter/Return make good sense, it is also a responsible, humane method of
care for outdoor cats.