Trap, Neuter and Release
TNR program definition:
Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) is a humane and non-lethal approach to long term community and feral cat population control.
Why it works
- Evidence shows that previous practices involving trapping and euthanasia are not effective population control methods for community cats. The remaining few cats will breed, and in some cases over-breed to replace the missing cats.
- Since cats are territorial, simply removing the cats will only open up the area for a new colony to move in.
- TNR has proven to be the most effective method of reducing the number of community cats in a specific area over the long-term. It stops the problem because it stops the breeding.
- Community cat caregivers provide day-to-day care & monitoring of the colony so that any newcomers can be quickly trapped and sterilized.
- The negative impact of the cats is greatly reduced simply by spaying/neutering and is further reduced as the number of cats decrease. Neutered cats make less noise and fight less. i.e. No late-night howling, fighting, smelly male urine, or unwanted kittens.
- The cats did not choose to be wild but were simply born in to this environment. Once feral cats arrive at shelters there is little options for them as they are not friendly cuddly companions. The TNR program provides these cats a chance to live out their natural lives in a healthy manner.
Community vs. Feral
Community Cat vs. Feral:
A "Community cat" is an umbrella definition that includes any free roaming cat. These cats may be "feral" (un-socialized) or friendly, may have been born into the wild or may be pet cats that roam outdoors.
A "feral" cat is a cat who has reverted in some degree to a wild state. They originate from former domestic cats who then learned to live outdoors or in environments involving little human contact. They are not social to humans and tend to retreat or avoid human contact if approached. In most cases, feral cats are not completely wild because they still depend on people for their food source, whether it's a daily caretaker, a dumpster outside a restaurant, garbage cans, or the like. Relatively few feral cats subsist only by hunting.
Why do they have a tipped ear?
Ear-tipping is an effective and universally accepted method to identify a spayed or neutered and vaccinated community cat. This is done while the cat is anesthetized for spay/neutering and healing is rapid.
The ear tip helps the community to quickly identify that the cat is sterilized (cannot reproduce) as it is difficult to get close to feral cats, and therefore the identification must be visible from a distance. Community cats may interact with a variety of caregivers, veterinarians, and animal control personnel during their lives and so immediate visual identification is necessary to prevent an unnecessary second trapping and surgery.
Want to become a caregiver or need help with a site?
Contact SLCOTNR@slco.org or call 385-232-4176.