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What is TNR (Trap Neuter Return/ Release)?

What is TNR or Trap-Neuter-Return/Release? It is a way to humanely control feral cat populations. It reduces the number of cats being taken to shelters and prevents them from being euthanized. TNR also stops the spread of disease. They are also beneficial to neighborhoods as they help to control rodent populations!

The TNR process involves the following steps:

STEP 1. Identifying a feral cat population, educating the people who will care for them (give them food, water, shelter). Humanely trap them with live or drop traps.

STEP 2. Captured cats are taken to a spay/neuter facility where they are fixed, often vaccinated, and ear tipped. About 1/4" of the ear tip is removed while they are in surgery. This is to easily identify a cat that has been spayed or neutered. 

STEP 3. After several days, the cats are released or returned to the same location they came from. 

It is important to understand that feral cats are not strays. Feral cats are typically born and grow up with no human interaction, or a cat that has permanently become fearful of humans. In some cases, a stray can be mistaken for a feral because they have become fearful. Stray cats have typically been abandoned or lost but have been socialized at some point in their life. It is also important to not release/ return friendly cats and try to adopt them out, as they can easily become victim to those that may cause them harm since they are not fearful of humans. 

The picture shown is of a cat (we call him Spots) that was TNR'd in my neighborhood. You can see that his ear was tipped. Over time he seemed to be friendly and is now living the comfortable life with a neighbor of mine!