World Cat Day: What's TNR?

TNR stands for Trap-Neuter-Release, and is the most effective and humane solution to the feral cat problem plaguing the nation. According to National Geographic, some experts estimate there being over 70 million feral cats in the United States. However, with more and more communities implementing a TNR program in their local shelters, that number can steadily decrease over time.

In these TNR programs, feral cats are trapped (typically with box traps), taken to a local veterinary to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped, then released back into the neighborhoods from which they came. TNR is an incredibly important program to execute in communities. It not only controls and eventually decreases the feral cat population, and has been proven to be the most successful method to do so, but also balances the wants of the human community as well. People want more humane ways to deal with the feral cat problem; TNR is the answer.

The Trap-Neuter-Release method provides quite a few benefits, for both the cats and the community, such as:  

  • It stops the breeding cycle. By spaying/neutering the cats captured, they are completely unable to reproduce in the wild. This also virtually eliminates the chance of mammary and testicular tumors developing.
  • It improves overall female cat health. Being pregnant is hard, and an unspayed female cat can have up to 3 litters of kittens per year, contributing to the feral cat colony growth.
  • It decreases feline mating behaviors, such as roaming, yowling, spraying, and fighting. These behaviors can be a disruption to the community, but are effectively stopped when a cat is spayed/neutered.
  • It stops the spread of rabies and other infectious diseases, which puts the community at ease.
  • It saves taxpayer dollars. In the long run, TNR programs are a far better investment than other methods, as it has been proven to have long-term results.

Other methods to control the feral cat population, such as the Catch and Kill method, simply don’t work. They create a vacuum effect (where new cats move in when other cats are caught to take advantage of the available resources, thus creating a never-ending cycle), which only causes the colony to grow. TNR ticks all the boxes for feral cat population control, from effectiveness to also being humane, and is something that truly benefits everyone in the community.