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Information for Neighbors

Thank you for visiting the Wisconsin Humane Society's website for more information about feral cats in your neighborhood. If someone is already caring for cats in your area, you may have questions about our sterilization program for outdoor cats.

What is TNR?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a method of humanely controlling feral cat populations. 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. 

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 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.

Won't the cats spread disease?

Feral cats generally carry disease as the same rate as other felines. TNR helps to control the spread of disease in free-roaming cat populations. Through TNR, cats are immunized against rabies. Additionally, the health of the colony is monitored by caregivers. 

What is 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. 

Isn't this against city ordinance?

The city of Milwaukee passed legislation that permits caregivers to participate in TNR through a program like the Wisconsin Humane Society's. In order to participate in the WHS program, caregivers are required to attend an orientation in order to learn how to properly participate with minimal disruption to their neighbors. 

My neighbor's feral cats are digging up my flower bed. What can I do?

For simple solutions to this and other common cat behaviors, click here.

I like the birds in the neighborhood. Won't the cats prey upon the birds?

WHS boasts the state's largest wildlife rehabilitation center, and we are concerned with the welfare of both domestic and wild animals. Research indicates that habitat destruction has caused the greatest decline in the wild bird population, but that wild birds are also under pressure from other threats like window collisions, pesticides and cat predation. We believe that TNR is the most humane tool available to reduce the number of feral cats in our community, thereby reducing the impact that cats have on wildlife. 

I have additional questions. What should I do?

Talk to your neighbor who is participating in our program to discuss your concerns. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us at (414) 431-6187 or