Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) saves lives

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), the humane approach to addressing community cat populations, works. It saves cats’ lives and is effective. TNR improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle (annoying behaviors cease). Once TNR is carried out, cats and people co-exist.

Scientific studies and communities with TNR programs are proof that TNR does what it is intended to do: reduce and stabilize populations of community cats. Alley Cat Allies was formed in 1990, bringing the TNR methods proven in the UK to the U.S. We launched a national movement with our educational materials, regional workshops, mobilization of advocates, and re-writing laws so that TNR has become mainstream.

For cats and for communities: TNR works.

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

In a Trap-Neuter-Return program, community cats are humanely trapped (with box traps), brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (the universal sign that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to their outdoor home.

Bring Trap-Neuter-Return to Your Community

Alley Cat Allies can show you the way. We were the first U.S. organization to have guidelines for TNR. We set the standards and published them. We created a step-by-step, how-to process for TNR programs geared for caregivers, volunteers, veterinarians, and advocates. We can help you advocate for TNR policies and ordinances that will save cats’ lives.

Before TNR

For more than a century, the American shelter and animal control system has been relying on catching and killing outdoor cats to control their population. This approach continues to fail, and the number of outdoor cats increases despite the fact that hundreds of millions of cats unnecessarily lose their lives. Taxpayer money that funds shelters and animal control agencies is wasted on an endless cycle of trapping and euthanizing, when the funds could be used more effectively to help animals.

Often referred to as the vacuum effect, the result of catch and kill policies is just that: vaccinated and neutered cats are removed, creating a vacuum in the environment, and new cats move in to take advantage of available resources. The new cats breed and the cat population grows. Catch and kill policies aren’t just cruel and ineffective, they go against what the public really wants: humane approaches to cats.

After TNR

Everyone wins when a TNR program is implemented. Everything changes for the better, for the cats and for the community. Adult cats — spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped — are returned to the colony to live out their lives in their outdoor home and become good neighbors.

Alley Cat Allies started in 1990 with a colony of 54 cats living in an alley in northwest Washington, D.C. Caregivers and new volunteers implemented TNR. Within just seven years, the colony had declined, naturally and humanely, to six cats. The cats were welcome in the neighborhood and cared for by many of the residents.

Trap-Neuter-Return Case Studies:

What’s next for TNR?

TNR is more than saving today’s cats. It is the future of animal control and sheltering, and many shelters are doing TNR themselves—Shelter-Neuter-Return Join Alley Cat Allies and help us spread the word. Make TNR come to a community near you!

See Trap-Neuter-Return in action: