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Frequently Asked Questions About TNR

What is trap/neuter/return? Trap/neuter/return is a humane, non-lethal alternative to the trap-and-kill method of controlling cat populations. Trap/neuter/return (TNR) is a management technique in which homeless, free-roaming (community) cats are humanely trapped, evaluated and sterilized by a licensed veterinarian, vaccinated against rabies, and then returned to their original habitat.

What is the primary benefit of TNR?  In the long term, TNR lowers the numbers of cats in the community more effectively than trap-and-kill.  Stopping the breeding and removing some cats for adoption is more effective than the traditional trap-and-kill method in lowering the numbers of cats in a community long-term.

Why does the trap-and-kill method fail to curtail free-roaming cat populations?  Populations rebound to previous levels following trap-and-kill.. When a portion of the sustainable population is removed (e.g., by trapping and killing them) and the availability of resources is unaltered, the remaining animals respond through increased birthing and higher survivability rates. Because of this biological certainty, trapping and removing cats from a given area does little more than ensure that the cat population will rebound to its original level, necessitating additional trapping and killing. While lethal control may rid an area of cats temporarily, it is not an effective long-term solution because new cats will quickly fill the vacated area and breed, resulting in a perpetual cycle of killing.


Why is TNR preferable to lethal control? TNR is a practical solution to the failed trap-and-kill policy. Lethal control has been used by animal control agencies for decades, but given the current problem of large populations of free-roaming cats, it is obvious that killing as a form of population control does not work. In addition, killing homeless animals as a means of population control is publicly unpalatable. By contrast, TNR puts an end to this perpetual cycle of killing and makes it possible to maintain a colony at a relatively stable number of sterilized cats unable to multiply. (Click to read more on TNR)

In the long term, TNR lowers the numbers of cats in the community more effectively than trap-and-kill.

  • TNR reduces shelter admissions and operating costs. Also, fewer community cats in shelters increases shelter adoption rates, as more cage space opens up for adoptable cats.

  • These programs create safer communities and promote public health by reducing the number of unvaccinated cats.

  • TNR programs improve the lives of free-roaming cats. When males are neutered, they are no longer compelled to maintain a large territory or fight over mates, and females are no longer forced to endure the physical and mental demands of giving birth and fending for their young.

  • Sterilizing community cats reduces or even eliminates the behaviors that can lead to nuisance complaints.


              Best Friends Animal Society

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