What is TNR?

What is TNR?

What is TNR?

TNR stands for Trap, Neuter (or spay) and Return.  TNR is the best way to handle community cat problems.  Community cats are cats you find living outside in groups.  

While we’d love it if all cats were indoor cats, some are just not suited for living inside with humans and can thrive as community cats.  For these cats, TNR is the most humane solution.  

The Benefits of TNR

  • Stabilizes community cat populations by ensuring no new kittens are born. 
  • Stops nuisance mating behaviors like roaming, fighting, spraying and yowling. 
  • Provides vaccinations  
  • Helps to prevent the cat from needlessly being trapped again by painlessly ear tipping them while under anesthesia. 
  • Humanely returns cats to where they are already accustomed to living. 

How Does TNR Work?


When a stray cat or a group of community cats are identified as living in a given area, plans are made to trap all community cats in that area.  Trapping the entire group is important because the more cats see the outdoor traps, the more they will learn to avoid them.  Even one unspayed female can lead to hundreds of stray kittens in a few short years. 

Humane animal trap. Cat trapped in a humane non lethal animal trap
Note: cats with the tip of their ear removed do not need to be trapped. This is the universal sign that the cat has already been spayed/neutered.
Ear Tipped Cat (2) Cat with the tip of their left ear removed

Neuter (or spay)

Trapped cats are taken to their pre-scheduled vet appointment where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear tipped. 


After the cats have been monitored for the amount of time recommended by the vet (sometimes overnight to a few days,) they are returned to the same location they were trapped. It is important they are returned to the same location they were trapped.  This is their home and it is where they know how to thrive and will be the least stressful and most humane situation for the cat. 

orange cat outside with ear tipped

Happy Neighborhood, Happy Cats

With the cat population and nuisance behaviors under control, community cats can live more peacefully among their human neighbors. 

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