What is TNR? Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a non-lethal, three-step method used to reduce the number of feral and stray cats, both immediately and in the long term.
Step 1 – Trap: Feral or stray cats are trapped using a safe, humane live trap.
Step 2 – Neuter: Trapped cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated by a veterinarian.
Step 3 – Return: Spayed/neutered cats are returned to their home.
Benefits to the Community
TNR helps the community by stabilizing the population of the feral colony and, over time, reducing it. Spayed/neutered cats cease behaviors that instigate complaints by people. Neutered males have no desire to mark their territory, so they stop spraying. Females never go into heat, so the yowling created by mating no longer occurs. Male cats stop fighting because there are no females in heat to fight over, and neutered males have no desire to mate even if a female in heat is in the area. The practice of TNR enables feral and outdoor cats to live their lives without adding to the overpopulation of homeless cats.
Why is returning cats more beneficial than relocating?
What happens when cats are not returned to their colony and simply removed from an area is known as the “Vacuum Effect”. If an established colony is removed from an area, other cats will simply move into the vacated territory to take advantage of the food sources and shelter there – and the cycle of reproduction and nuisance behavior begins all over again. Cats are territorial, and if dropped off in an unfamiliar place they will try to return to their original territory, making them vulnerable to predators, weather, starvation, and traffic as they wander without established sources of food and shelter.
If cats cannot be returned to the site from which they were removed, UVHS will, at times, try to place some colony cats into our barn cat program and relocate them to local farms/properties.