What is TNR?
Trap Neuter Return: Simply put, TNR is a program through which feral and/or free-roaming (community) cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and given any additional medical treatment necessary, and (ideally) returned to their original outdoor home. In certain situations, where the cats are in danger or have lost their caretaker for one reason or another, the cats are relocated to a more suitable home, often a farm or other similar facility where their rodent-control services are welcomed. When possible, queens (pregnant or nursing females) and young kittens are taken into foster care, and the kittens are socialized to humans and then adopted out to loving homes once they are old enough to be weaned as well as spayed/neutered. The queens are then sterilized and returned to the outdoor life they love.
Left unchecked, feral or free-roaming cat communities can quickly multiply, potentially resulting in starvation and the spread of disease as the cat population outgrows their territory. Additionally, at times communities or individuals come under pressure to dispose of cats who are seen as a nuisance. At one point in time, the only option was to capture and send them to shelters (or dispatch them immediately in a variety of cruel ways). Feral cats entering the traditional sheltering system have historically faced a grim future; unable to be adopted out to traditional indoor homes, they were routinely euthanized. Beginning in the early 1970s, however, groups of dedicated people who wanted to save lives started to come together, and TNR programs began to emerge. Since that time, the TNR movement has spread not only in the US but throughout the world. Animal shelters that want to see feral cats live full, happy lives can often call on a local TNR group to help them relocate cats to an appropriate home instead of euthanizing them, and private citizens who find themselves in the care of a growing cat colony have someone to turn to. As a result, thousands of lives have been saved.
See below for some pictures of TNR in action!