This letter was submitted in response to the following: 


Maine has dedicated advocates and organizations on the right path with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for community cats in the state (, Sept. 10), and yet much more can be done to expand, promote, and bolster these lifesaving efforts. Increased support for low-cost spay and neuter, broad education on humane best practices, and expanding the grassroots network to provide care will all lead to sustainable, positive change. The local organizations who are taking action for these cats should be encouraged and supported. 

Alley Cat Allies works in Maine and worldwide to protect cats, including advocacy against a bill in the state legislature earlier this year that would have limited the effectiveness of TNR.

TNR is the only humane and effective approach to populations of community cats, who are unowned cats who live outdoors. Scientific research has shown that TNR ends the breeding cycle, meaning no new litters of kittens are born outdoors. TNR is sound public policy because it meets the needs of cats and the community by reducing shelter intake and calls to animal services and stopping the needless killing of cats, all of which saves taxpayer dollars.

Maine residents should also know that while TNR is not abandonment, real abandonment of cats represents animal cruelty, and Alley Cat Allies stands strongly against it.

TNR, popularized nationwide by Alley Cat Allies over the last three-plus decades, has become a mainstream approach. Its success is demonstrated by the thousands of communities conducting volunteer-led grassroots TNR programs right now, and the hundreds more that have adopted official TNR ordinances and policies. Maine communities join a long list of locations in implementing TNR, reflecting the humane values of citizens and protecting the lives of cats.

Coryn Julien
Communications Director
Alley Cat Allies