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No matter where you live, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with a few cats that wander around your neighborhood; maybe you’ve even tried to help them. Technically, these don’t have a home or an owner, but –aside from a few who consider them to be a nuisance – everyone seems to sympathize with them and those who can help them, do. These cats are always fed and given water, and they may even get special shelters to keep  warm during the cold, winter months. They’re timid and not quite up to being pet, but they always return to those who extend them a friendly gesture. They’re the feral cats of the world.

A group of feral cats is called a colony, and while they’re certainly adorable and fun to observe, an influx of cats to a particular area can create a number of problems. These problems can include: nuisances to neighbors, cat fights and the spread of feline diseases. To prevent unwanted litters, TNR programs can be an effective tool in managing the number of cats in colonies.

If you’re not already familiar with TNR, here’s all you need to know!

What it is TNR?

TNR” stands for “Trap, Neuter, Release,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of humanely trapping feral cats, neutering (or spaying) them, and then releasing them back into their colonies where they were originally trapped.

Depending on the program and available funding, TNR may also include vaccinations and micro chipping. While still under anesthesia, the cat’s left ear is then “tipped” or “notched,” which is the universal sign that they’ve been spayed or neutered through a TNR program. This ensures that the cat will not be re-trapped and put under anesthesia again, unnecessarily. TNR programs are supported by local animal control agencies, as well as large animal welfare organizations such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the U.S., as a humane and effective method to control feral cat colony populations.

The 411 on TNRBestfriends.org

Why is TNR Important?

Each year, more than 2.7 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year in the United States because they are not adopted into loving homes. More than half of those animals are cats and the majority of those cats are due to unwanted litters.

Over the course of their lifetimes, an unaltered pair of cats and their offspring can produce hundreds of thousands of cats. That’s a staggering number. TNR programs can help to control feral cat populations, and ensure that feral kittens don’t end up in shelters as “strays.” (There is a difference between stray and feral cats, in case you were wondering).

Is This Making a Difference?

Like many issues surrounding animal control, there are two viewpoints on TNR. Some argue that it does not make enough of a difference in the lives of feral cats, or the communities they inhabit to be an effective method of population control. However, many, many more view TNR as extremely effective. Alley Cat Allies provides a lengthy list of studies that show that TNR is, indeed, good for cats, the communities they occupy and the people who interact with them.

How You Can Get Involved

If you know of a feral cat colony that could benefit from a TNR program – or if you’d like to volunteer to help feral cats – you can track down a TNR program by contacting your local animal shelter. If your shelter doesn’t offer a TNR program, they should be able to direct you to other municipalities or private rescues that have TNR arrangements available.

If you’re particularly passionate about feral cat issues, you should consider establishing a TNR program in your area. It’s an extremely worthwhile cause and one that is greatly needed! Alley Cat Allies was one of the first organizations to promote the TNR concept in the U.S. and it has a ton of great resources for how to successfully implement a TNR program.

Green Monsters, do you have experience with TNR programs?

Lead image source: This Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs

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14 comments on “Get the 411 on TNR: All you Ever Wanted to Know About Trap, Neuter, Release Programs”

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Megan Merlene
4 Years Ago

Kody Severino

Rocio Diosdado
4 Years Ago

Sofía Diosdado

Minoo Nakhaei
4 Years Ago

How beautiful !!

Philip Folk
4 Years Ago

Rachel it already has people have 15-20 cat's and there are feral and pet cat's that people just let roam.

Rachel Diamond
30 Sep 2014

No, the US does not have laws nearly as strict as those in Australia. And people allowing their intact cats to roam, or dumping them when they get sick of them, is how feral cats get started. Check out this screen grab of the cat laws in Perth:

Philip Folk
4 Years Ago

This program does not address the real problem they still kill small mammal's and bird's what is needed are law's like they for dog's.

Rachel Diamond
30 Sep 2014

In Australia they have strict laws about letting cats roam, having unaltered cats without a breeding license, etc. The US and Canada should really follow their lead before our feral cat problem gets as bad as theirs.

Rachel Diamond
4 Years Ago

I thought I was doing TNR on a feral cat until I realized I had ended up with a sweet little house kitty who had been dumped.

Clarissa Mc Kenzie
30 Sep 2014

beautiful kitty. :-)

Firstname Lastname
4 Years Ago

Here\'s how you can make any cat-licking, facts-twisting, propaganda-spewing fool reveal just how absurd, hypocritical, ignorant, stupid, and ludicrous ALL their beliefs are; all with just ONE simple question. Ask them:

"If you believe that these cats are a natural part of the environment and belong out in nature, then why are you even bothering to sterilize them?"

Blatantly ignorant hypocrite much?

Your agreement to sterilize them is your very agreement that they don\'t even belong there in the very first place. Is this too difficult for you to comprehend? Is your 3rd-grade bible-home-schooling, replete with your bambi-cartoon-sing-along curricula, now failing you? Must be.

Firstname Lastname
4 Years Ago

Birds are just a minor subset of all the thousands of native animal species (billions of individual animals) that cat-lickers (criminally irresponsible cat-advocates) are annihilating around the world with their man-made invasive species vermin cats.

Not only are these demented invasive-species house-cats-ONLY "animal lovers" now killing off all Big Cats in all wildlife reserves around the world:


And for the ultimate example of absurdity and species-conservation irony, now making all moggie-licking residents of the UK (the inventors of that TNR insanity) the complete laughingstocks of the whole world, they\'ve already made their ONE AND ONLY NATIVE CAT SPECIES EXTINCT in the UK with their invasive species "moggies":


"A report, produced by the Scottish Wildcat Association, reviewed 2,000 records of camera trap recordings, eyewitness reports and road kills, and concluded there may be only about 40 wildcats left in Scotland in the wild today. \'However you juggle the figures, it is hard to find anything positive,\' says Steve Piper, the association\'s chairman. \'The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months.\'" ... "However, it is not the loss of habitat that is causing the current cat crisis in the Cairngorms. It is the spread of the domestic cat." ... "\'Essentially the Highland wildcat is being eradicated by an alien invasive species: the domestic cat.\'" (report quoted from 2 years ago, they are no-doubt extinct by now)

As well as killing off all their inland River Otters in England (and elsewhere) with their cats\' parasites:


As well as cats\' parasites killing off all rare and endangered marine mammals on all coastlines around the world (worse than any oil-spill that has ever existed or could even be imagined):


Plus these cat-licking "animal lover" psychopaths and sociopaths are also killing off all the Mountain Lions (Cougars, Puma, Endangered Florida Panther, etc.), and all other native cat species in North America:


But now these cat-lickers are even killing off rare whales and causing massive birth-defects in the indigenous Inuit people who depend on seal-meat for their very survival. Seals that were infected (and are also dying-off) from these cat-lickers\' cats\' parasites.

Cat parasite found in western Arctic Beluga deemed infectious

Let\'s thank these psychotic bible-home-schooled cat-lickers for all the fine work they do for being such fantastic "animal lovers", shall we? THEY JUST LOVE CATS SO MUCH! So caring! So thoughtful! So intelligent! So FULL of love for living things! So much so that they will even sacrifice whole races of humans to death-by-birth-defect to prove how much they love their cats.

I\'d love to thank them all, each with a gift of a solitary-confinement prison-cell -- FOR LIFE. Better yet, for their VAST ecological crimes and sins against all of nature and all of humanity, hanged-until-dead would be a far more fitting "gift" for them AND the whole planet. That used to be the punishment for engaging in bio-warfare against the human population and all other animal life in any country. I say bring it back -- special, just for them.

Firstname Lastname
4 Years Ago

Can you spell "Hoax" & "Fraud"?

These TNR cat-lickers (criminal outdoor-cat-hoarders) who re-spew all the highly manipulative and deceptive lies and misinformation of Alley-Cat-All-Lies didn\'t do their due-diligence research.

Here\'s the very first link that any of their followers and supporters should have checked out.


They don\'t even meet the criteria to qualify for being a reputable charity organization under "Better Business Bureau" standards. While Becky and all her close friends are laughing all the way to the bank to the tune of $5M in assets with a $6M income. (Their 2013 financial report now puts their income at over $7.2M last year.)

They all flew to Hawaii not long ago for another "cat-conference" because, for some unknown reason, they had to be there to discuss these issues. (I wonder how many cats could have been saved from freezing to the pavement this last winter from the price of all their flights and lodging and luxurious food, drink, and entertainment in Hawaii? But these TNR group-leaders were so warm and having so much fun!)

For another good laugh check out how much Becky and her friends pay themselves with everyone else\'s money.


They have now been launching some damage-control with their new "Future Five" program to prove to everyone their true and trustworthy intentions. Awarding a princely $5,000 grant to some deserving group. $5,000 is only 0.1% of their assets, 0.08% of their yearly income. They might as well just sh** in the face of every last fool that ever donated to them.

Support yet another organization that exploits and perpetuates the suffering of animals for their own personal financial gain, then try to sleep well at night.

This is even more "rich". I recently discovered that anyone who posts a request for financial help on Alley-Cat-All-Lies Facebook pages is then referred to this page of theirs: alleycat.org/economy

Not ONE link on that page refers to getting actual financial help from Alley-Cat-All-Lies themselves. And even more rich, their very first resource that they send people to, to feed their feral cats, is a national food-bank organization where people donate food to feed needy humans. They are taking the food out of the mouths of needy human infants to feed their diseased vermin cats.

I don\'t think I\'ve seen a sadder and more sorry and despicable case of "charity" in my whole life before this.

Oh wait, that\'s right. I forgot. You MUST throw cats out into the streets with Becky Robinson\'s TNR programs so they get ran-over by cars or attacked by other cats or other animals, get eaten from the inside-out by parasites or die any other of the myriad heinous and inhumane ways that nearly every last TNR cat dies from "loving attrition". Then when you find them suffering to death from TNR\'s "humane death by attrition", you can parade them in the media to ask for even more $millions in donations to line your own pockets. This is why HSUS and SPCA loves TNR so much too. You can\'t exploit suffering cats for $millions if you humanely euthanize them first! Oh no, you need them to die publicly in the streets if you are going to get any money from cats. It\'s the ONLY value they have now -- to suffer to death so those who exploit them can get wealthy.

It\'s the new money-making scam! Torture cats to death with TNR and then as they die-off from "attrition" exploit them in the media for even more money! You too can become a deceptive, manipulative, and morally reprehensible $millionaire by following this animal-torturing business-model invented by Becky Robinson!

My mistake. Carry on.

Firstname Lastname
4 Years Ago


FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Re-Abandon (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue to cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today — FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bio-terrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague — Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2X-4X\'s faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

FACT: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY _NOTHING_ HUMANE ABOUT TNR. Nearly every last TNR\'ed cat dies an inhumane death by road-kill, from cat and animal attacks, environmental poisons, starvation, dehydration, freezing to death, infections, eaten from the inside-out by parasites, etc. And if very very lucky humanely shot to death or re-trapped and drowned (the two most common methods employed on all farms and ranches to protect their gestating livestock\'s offspring and valuable native wildlife dying from cats\' Toxoplasmosis parasites). This doesn\'t begin to count the thousands of defenseless native animals that cats skin alive and disembowel alive for their daily and hourly play-toys. And pitting cat against cat to fight-to-the-death for territory is ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than those who run criminal dog-fight rings to see who wins. They spend YEARS in jail. IT IS A HIGHLY PUNISHABLE CRIME TO FORCE *ANY* DOMESTICATED ANIMALS TO FIGHT EACH OTHER FOR THEIR VERY SURVIVAL.

FACT: The only difference in destroying cats immediately and humanely instead of trapping, sterilizing, then releasing them to an inhumane death and forcing them to fight-to-the-death for survival; is that money isn\'t going into Becky Robinson\'s Alley-Cat-All-Lies pocket, or an HSUS or SPCA board-member\'s pocket, veterinarian\'s pocket, cat-food company CEO\'s pocket, or a drug-company CEO\'s pocket. And that\'s the ONLY difference! Support yet another organization that exploits and perpetuates the suffering of animals for their own personal financial gain, then try to sleep well at night.

FACT: These manipulative, deceptive, and deceitful TNR proponents are now clipping cats ears ONLY. WITHOUT vaccinations nor sterilizing them. They do this to save money and protect their outdoor hoarded cat colonies from being trapped and euthanized by the state because the clipped-ear shows officials that they have been sterilized and vaccinated. Why pay $140 for each cat and all that time when just a trap and a simple snip of scissors on each one can also protect their hoarded cats from being destroyed? (I have absolute proof of this.)

FACT: Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any other caused by man. Cats are even worse than an oil-spill of continent-sized proportions. They not only kill off rare and endangered marine-mammals along all coastlines from run-off carrying cats\' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey gutted and skinned alive for cats\' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators that are starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. (Precisely what cats caused on my own lands not long ago.)

FACT: In _SIXTEEN_YEARS_ Alley Cat ALL-LIES branch of NYC have only reduced feral cats in their own city by 0.08% to 0.024% (as the months go on that percentage becomes more insignificant), allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to exponentially breed out of control. Here\'s how Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES\' deceptive math works: If you TNR 4 cats and 3 get flattened by cars this translates to 75% fewer feral-cats everywhere. Alley Cat ALL-LIES of NYC can\'t even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

FACT: When researching over 100 of the most "successful" TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon\'s 50,000 TNR\'ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 75%-85% to be the least bit effective.

FACT: Their mythical "vacuum effect" is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived "vacuum" is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there are no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own lands. ZERO cats replaced them FOR NEARLY FIVE YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats\' resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of "vacuum effect" at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void.

FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being — IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!


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