Trap / Neuter / Return
- What is Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR)?
TNR is the method by which stray, feral and community cats are humanely trapped, neutered or spayed by a vet, given any other medical care they may require (for example parasite treatment), then returned to the place they came from.
- Why do TNR?
TNR is the most effective method of controlling free-roaming cat populations. An unspayed female cat may give rise to as many as eight thousand descendants in five years! By spaying a female, or neutering a male, we are helping to reduce the numbers of homeless kittens born, usually to a difficult life full of uncertainty, illness and early death. TNR stops the breeding cycle, makes the neutered/spayed cats healthier (find out more about the health benefits of spaying/neutering your cat), and reduces the potential nuisance of cat colonies to human residents.
- Cat Colonies
Homeless cats often gather in what is known as a colony. Whilst cats are solitary hunters, they will often share territory where food and shelter are in good supply. Cats living together in a colony will recognise and tolerate each other’s presence and drive away strangers. If all the cats in a colony have been spayed or neutered, this will stabilise the colony population and ensure there are enough resources for all. The colony will not grow any further, and fewer fights will break out. Fully TNR’d colonies live in harmony with their human neighbours.
- What are the alternatives to TNR?
Many people think that collecting up the cats from a colony and moving them elsewhere will “solve their problem”. However, it a) simply shifts the “problem” to somewhere else, and b) it leaves a vacuum, which will shortly be filled by another selection of cats, gathering to share the same resources as the original cats. This is not a solution, and is in fact cruel to the relocated cats (as well as being unfair to people and other cats living in the new location); their colony is their home. The vacuum argument also negates the suggestion that the cats should be euthanised rather than moved, which is of course anathema to anyone who cares about cats and their welfare.
It is also suggested by some that simply stopping feeding a cat colony will cause them to disperse. This is not true, and is cruel.
TNR is the only method proven to work in stabilising (and eventually decreasing) colonies of cats. It is also the only humane and caring option.