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Trap-Neuter-Return is Not Abandonment

Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane and effective approach for feral cats, and it does not constitute animal abandonment. Instead, it serves the cats’ best interests and improves their lives.

Trap-Neuter-Return is the Humane Approach
Trap-Neuter-Return is not abandonment because it involves returning the cats to their natural environment: their home and their habitat. Trap-Neuter-Return does not introduce cats to unfamiliar and therefore negative surroundings; feral cats already have the skills to care for themselves. In fact, cats have been living outdoors alongside humans for 10,000 years.

Trap-Neuter-Return is also not considered abandonment since it improves the lives of feral cats. Trap-Neuter-Return eliminates the stresses associated with pregnancy and mating. Fighting is greatly reduced. The cats are also vaccinated against disease. And those with caregivers are provided with life-long care. Learn more about TNR and its many benefits to cats and communities.

Trap-Neuter-Return Supports the Best Interests of Cats
Trap-Neuter-Return includes adopting kittens and cats who are socialized to humans into homes for a very essential reason: it takes into account what is in the best interests of cats depending on their socialization and needs.

You can identify the needs of the individual cats found within a colony by distinguishing between a feral and a stray—how accustomed they are to humans and whether or not they can fend for and care for themselves. Observe the cats’ appearance and behavior using these quick tips. These tips are only a general guide. Each cat acts differently.

NOTE: It is difficult to assess cats who have been recently trapped or are otherwise stressed. It is often necessary to wait until they are placed in a less stressful situation and have a chance to calm down before their temperament and socialization can be accurately determined. Depending on the cat and the place where they are being held, this may take a few hours to days or even weeks

Stray Cat

Feral Cat


  • May approach you

  • Will not approach you

  • May approach food right away that you put down

  • Will wait until you move away before approaching food that you put down

  • May be vocal

  • Will be silent

  • May look disheveled

  • Will appear groomed

  • May be seen at all hours of the day

  • Usually nocturnal

Abandoning a Pet Cat Outside is Cruelty
Cats who are accustomed to living with humans and being cared for by them do not have the skills to fend for themselves outdoors. Cats who are only acclimated to living indoors are not equipped to be thrust outside. Putting a cat outdoors permanently, when she has never been there before, is putting the cat in a negative situation, and would be considered abandonment.

Learn more about anti-cruelty laws.

Learn more about TNR and its many benefits to cats and communities.