Trap-Neuter-Release Facts

What is TNR?

TNR stands for trap, neuter (or spay), and return. Community cats are humanely trapped, brought to a spay and neuter clinic for surgical sterilization, then returned to their original location once they’ve recovered from surgery. Community cats are not placed into an adoption program, and we do not attempt to socialize them.


Why TNR?

TNR is the most humane method to reduce feral and free-roaming cat populations. TNR also provides an effective alternative to euthanasia of otherwise healthy cats. Spaying and neutering cats decreases health complications and undesirable behaviors like yowling and fighting.


Why are community cats returned to their neighborhoods after surgery?

Stray and feral cats populate an area when there’s food and shelter to support them. If the cats are removed, other cats will find the vacant space and move in. This is called the vacuum effect. The new cats will have more kittens and repeat the cycle.

With TNR, the original cats are returned to their territory after they’ve been spayed or neutered, so new cats will not move into the area. Altered cats will not continue the cycle because they cannot have kittens.


Why do community cats receive tipped ears?

A community cat receives a tipped ear at the time of their spay or neuter appointment so trappers will know they’ve already been altered. The cat will receive the tip at the time of surgery, when they’re under anesthesia, so they will not feel any pain.  An ear tip is required for all community cats who come through our program. If an altered community cat with a tipped ear finds its way into a trap or new colony, the trappers take one look at that ear and know that the tipped ear means they’re taken care of.

Want more content like this in your inbox? Sign up below!