What is Trap-Neuter-Return?
is a beautiful orange tabby, born to the feral
life of a Sherman Park colony on the north side
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a method of humanely controlling feral cat populations. Where TNR programs have become community-wide and institutionalized across the country, the impact has been considerable. From New York to San Diego, cities across the nation have successfully implemented TNR programs.
TNR involves several steps. First, caregivers humanely trap the cats. The cats are then sterilized and vaccinated and receive an ear-tip (a small notch in the cat’s left ear that confirms that he or she has been sterilized). Socialized cats are adopted into homes, and cats who are truly feral are returned to their original location where they are fed, sheltered and continuously monitored by a caregiver.
What are the other options for dealing with feral cat populations?
Feral cat populations can be dealt with in one of four ways: trap and kill, whereby cats are caught and euthanized; trap and remove, whereby cats are trapped and relocated; trap and return (TNR); and doing nothing or withholding food from the cats. Both trap and kill and trap and remove methods have been proven ineffective in reducing cat population. When cats are removed from an area, other cats move in quickly and breed prolifically, quickly forming a new (and sometimes larger) colony. This “vacuum effect” is well documented. Withholding food is inhumane and nearly impossible, as dumpsters, rodents, and other food sources are always available. In addition, trapping and killing cats is expensive and taxpayers foot the bill. If ignored, cat populations continue to multiply. Of the options available, TNR is the most viable and effective.
What are the advantages of Trap-Neuter-Return?
There are many advantages of Trap-Neuter-Return. Besides ending the breeding of more unwanted cats, it also reduces colony size without creating a vacuum effect that produces more feral cats. Additionally, TNR stops many nuisance cat behaviors like spraying, yowling and fighting. Through TNR, cats are vaccinated and caregivers continue to monitor the population so that new cats are sterilized and unhealthy cats are removed from the colony.
The Wisconsin Humane Society’s Community Cat Caregivers Program
The Wisconsin Humane Society offers a TNR program called Community Cat Caregivers. The program provides sterilization and vaccination services to feral cats for a nominal fee. In 2010, the Wisconsin Humane Society sterilized 331 cats through this program.
Any interested person caring for feral cats and who agrees to our program guidelines is welcome to participate. In order to join the program, you must successfully complete an orientation. For information about upcoming orientation dates, please call us at (414) 431-6228.
Carlita and Googie spent much of their time
hiding from humans in the brush. Without socialization as kittens,
such cats will never be capable of living in a home.
What you can do to help
The Wisconsin Humane
Society strongly encourages anyone caring for a cat to keep
them indoors for the well-being of cats
Click here for more ideas on what you can do to help the feral cats in your community.
Click here if you have questions about feral cats in your neighborhood.
The City of Milwaukee passed legislation that allows caregivers to participate in a TNR program like the Wisconsin Humane Society’s.
Caregivers can log in to report their colony data here.