Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Brown Tabby kitten perched on doctors shoulder

We encourage and support efforts to reduce the number of free-roaming, community cats.  Each year, we provide thousands of spay/neuter surgeries for feral cats.  We have extensive experience in safely handling, housing, and sterilizing feral cats.

TNR is a method in which cats are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated, sterilized, ear-tipped, and returned to their outdoor home.  A left ear tip is the universal symbol of a spayed/neutered and vaccinated cat.  It is done while the cat is under anesthesia and it is not painful for the cat.

The traditional approach of removing cats “catch and kill” does not keep the area free of cats.  In the past, with this method of managing cat colonies, the cats were trapped and removed from their established colony and euthanized. While this method caused an instant decrease in the overall colony numbers, it has not been an effective long-term solution.

TNR has proven to be the only long-term, effective solution to humanely control cat populations. When all cats are spayed and neutered, the population size of the colony will gradually decrease as offspring are no longer produced. The cats are also usually healthier and coexist more peacefully since the behaviors associated with unaltered cats such as yowling, marking territory with urine, and fighting amounts the cats will decrease if not disappear.

TNR is endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the American Humane Association as well as many other progressive animal welfare organizations.

Feral cats are not socialized to people and survive on their own outdoors. Feral cats have existed for thousands of years and are established members of the community. Feral cats are members of the same species as domesticated or pet cats.  In the state of Virginia, feral cats are protected under the same animal anti-cruelty laws as pet cats.

A cat colony is a concentrated group or population of cats. The term is used primarily when noticeable populations of cats live together in a specific location and use a common food source.