Trap-neuter-return is a humane 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.

Neighborhoods provide food, water and shelter for community cats, and TNR provides a non-lethal, humane way to effectively manage these community cat populations. Friendly cats or young kittens are pulled from the colonies and sent to foster homes for socialization and, eventually, placement into forever homes.

The benefits include:

  • 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

Volunteers can help trap cats and also assist animal control in locating other cats in need of TNR services. Commonly referred to as caregivers, these volunteers may also feed and monitor the health of colony cats once they are returned to their original location.

Monitoring is important to successful TNR programs because caregivers can easily identify new cats who join the colony, so that they, too, can be sterilized, vaccinated and ear-tipped.



AnimalKind is making significant progress in protecting animals from euthanasia, creating an innovative approach to provide emergency services for pet owners in need and humanely reducing the overpopulation of unwanted animals.