What is TNR?
TNR is a process in which stray and feral (wild) cats are humanely trapped, evaluated, vaccinated and sterilized
by the veterinarian and then returned to their familiar habitat. We encourage people to make efforts to use the
resources of adoption organizations to attempt to place tame cats and kittens into home. Over time, the colony will diminish through natural attrition.
TNR is not only cost-effective and humane, but it is scientifically proven
as the most effective means of controlling the free-roaming cat population.
TNR has been successfully implemented in several cities around the country and
is endorsed by many well-respected institutions and organizations as an alternative
to trapping and killing stray and feral cats. Groups endorsing TNR include:
- AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)
- HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)
- AHA (American Humane Association)
- ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
- Cat Fancier's Association
Benefits of TNR
TNR is effective in reducing the number of cats entering the shelters and
- San Diego, California: In 1992, San Diego Department of Animal Control euthanized
15,525 cats at a cost of $121 per cat. That year, Feral Cat Coalition San
Diego, a private, volunteer organization, began aggressive spay/neuter programs.
By 1998, the number of animals killed each year dropped more than 45 percent,
with a tax saving of $859,221.
- Maricopa County, Arizona: Maricopa County spends $61 to trap, hold, and
euthanize one feral cat, versus $22.50 to spay or neuter and return a cat.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control encourages communities to adopt TNR
by passing associated costs along to them.
- Indianapolis Animal Care and Control: Indianapolis ACC's cost of trapping,
holding and euthanizing one feral cat is comparable to the national average
of $130. IndyFeral and its volunteers can humanely trap, vaccinate, evaluate,
sterilize and return the cat for $20.
Trap and Kill is Ineffective
Trapping and killing cats has been proven to be cruel, inefficient and expensive.
Whether killing or removing the cats, the cycle continues as it creates a vacuum
effect. More cats move in to take advantage of whatever meager food source is
available. The new unsterilized cats will breed to capacity of the site and
start the cycle all over.
An attempt to control the population by removal or killing of cats is often
met with opposition and sabotage by cat feeders who have formed an attachment
to the cats. Advocates for the cats have been reported to openly violate policies
against feeding the cats and interfered with trapping efforts.
Cities who have chosen to ignore the problem or "let nature take its course"
have seen nothing but continued breeding, increased suffering, higher mortality
rates, increased nuisance complaints, public health concerns and an eventual
rise in costs to animal control agencies which are eventually passed on to the
TNR Reduces Nuisance Complaints
The majority of complaints received by shelter/animal control facilities are
mating behaviors displayed by unsterilized cats. These include yowling, fighting,
spraying, unhealthy and sick kittens and roaming. An immediate reduction in
these behaviors is realized after the animals are altered. Many cats become
friendly and stay closer to home.
- Orange County, Florida: Before implementing TNR, Orange County Animal Services
received 175 nuisance complaints a week. Complaints have dropped dramatically;
cat adoptions have increased from 400 to more than 1,000 per year.
- Cape May, New Jersey: Since implementing community-wide TNR procedures in
2001, Animal Control Office John Queenan has achieved an 80 percent drop in
feral cat complaints.
Public Health Concerns Are Addressed Through TNR
Descriptions of feral cats as generally diseased are not founded in fact. The
truth is that feral cats are generally as healthy as domestic cats and present
a miniscule health risk to humans.
Rabies - cats pose a very low risk for contracting and spreading rabies, as
they are not a natural vector for the disease. Feral cats by nature will avoid
human contact. All feral cats that are part of managed IndyFeral colonies are
vaccinated for rabies and caretakers are instructed to feed cats during the
day so as not to attract wildlife and avoid any cat/wildlife confrontation.
In Indiana, the last known case of rabies in a cat was 1984, as reported by
the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.
Impact On Birds And Wildlife
The number one cause in the decline of bird and wildlife populations is the
destruction of their habitat, pollution and pesticides. Government biologists
and conservation groups estimate that TV and cell phone towers kill from 4 to
50 million birds a year. Cats are rodent specialists and birds make up a tiny
percentage of their diet. If cats were truly the "hunting-machines"
they are often portrayed as - with the ability to wipe out an entire species
- we would no longer have any mice around.
Cats are only "one" piece of a complex Eco-system. Singling out cats
only creates hostility and does not address the underlying problems. To protect
habitats, people must address "all" the causes of destruction and
Quality Of Life And Feral Cats
IndyFeral goes one step further than just TNR. We also provide on-going care
as part of our comprehensive feral cat management strategy. We insure that every
colony has a volunteer (Colony Caretaker) who will provide long-term care, including
food, shelter and health monitoring. Caretakers insure that any newcomers who
join the colony are immediately spayed/neutered and vaccinated. This on-going
surveillance and maintenance is critical for the colony to diminish by natural
attrition over time.
Caretakers have a strong bond with the free-roaming cats they care for. Caring
for a colony of cats is different from the "traditional" image of
the human-animal bond, as many of these cats can not be touched or held and
do not live indoors with the Caretaker. Nevertheless, it is a close relationship
in which Caretakers make great efforts to feed, shelter, neuter and provide
health care for the cats. The bond between the caretaker and the cats is no
less of a commitment than that of taking care of the family pet and should be
recognized as such.
Feral cats do not lead "short, miserable lives." On the contrary,
as most caretakers and studies can attest, feral cats frequently live long and
healthy lives. Quality of life in domestic and stray cats can be measured in
terms of weight, coat condition, frequency of illness, eating and drinking patterns
and energy level. In a long-term study conducted by the AVMA (American Veterinary
Medical Association), no significant differences were noted between domestic
and managed feral cats.
No More Homeless Pets
TNR and managed colonies are not an endorsement for abandoning unwanted cats.
On the contrary, IndyFeral believes that every cat should have a caring and
loving home. TNR should be viewed as an "interim solution" to the
problem of feral, free-roaming cats - it is the first step in reducing the size
of the colony and a critical piece in reaching a day when there are no more