Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a full management plan 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. Kittens and tame cats are adopted into good homes
which immediately reduces the number of cats in the colony. Healthy adult cats, too wild to be adopted, are returned to their familiar habitat to live out their lives under the care of volunteers who supply them with food, water and shelter. These Volunteers, or Care Givers, also monitor the colony for any new comers who may enter the colony. Neutered cats are identified by ear tipping on the left ear, distinguishing them from new arrivals who are immediately recognized then trapped, neutered and returned, preventing the endless cycle of propagation and suffering which occurs without TNR intervention.
Feral Cats are derived from unconscionable, irresponsible pet owners, who abandon or allow their reproductively intact cats to roam. These un-sterilized house cats continue to reproduce and eventually band together in groups called colonies, becoming wild or feral, as human contact is absent for a prolonged period of time. These feral cats make their home wherever they can find a food source, be it in a dumpster or under a boardwalk. Mothers teach their kittens to avoid humans and to defend themselves. Sadly, their numbers steadily increase, in spite of illness and meager scraps of food being all that is available.
It is estimated that there are approximately 60 million feral cats in the United States, the actual number is not known. Often, they are wrongly portrayed as disease-ridden nuisances living tragic lives and responsible for endangering native species. As a consequence, misinformed municipalities and their citizens have the mind set to round up these feral feline colonies and because these cats have had little to no contact with humans, they are undomesticated, and thereby are not adoptable which results in their being killed in an effort to eliminate them.
But removing and killing feral cats does not reduce feral cat populations. It only provides space for more reproducing cats to move into the area and start the breeding process and the problem, all over again. A phenomena referred to as "the vacuum effect".
Un-spayed feral female cats spend most of their lives pregnant and hungry, able to produce, on average, 12 kittens per year. Half the kittens die shortly after birth. Of the remaining surviving kittens, half will be dead before they reach 6 months of age. They die a slow unmerciful death by starvation, illness and abandonment.
Un-neutered feral tomcats objectionable behavior of roaming to find mates, fighting for mates and territory, spraying to mark territory and mating creates an unacceptable nuisance within a community, as well as, severely injured and debilitated tomcats.
TNR; Trap, Neuter, Return not only reduces feral cat populations and eliminates the objectionable behavior of reproducing cats, but also improves the lives of colony members.
TNR is a comprehensive plan where entire feral colonies are humanely trapped, then evaluated, vaccinated, spayed and neutered then ear tipped, to identify them as having been sterilized and taken care of by Veterinarians. Kittens and cats that are tame enough to be adopted are placed in good homes. Un-adoptable adult cats are returned to their familiar habitat to live out their lives under the watchful care of sympathetic neighborhood volunteers.
TNR works. Cat populations are gradually reduced in an area. Nuisance behaviors associated with breeding, such as the yowling of females or the spraying of toms, are virtually eliminated. Disease, malnutrition and the suffering subside so that the cats live healthy, safe, and peaceful lives in their territories. Attrition reduces their numbers over time.