Cat Neutering or Spaying for Strays

You may see feral and stray cats, also called community cats, roaming around your neighborhood, and you may be wondering how you can help them. The most effective way to stop them from reproducing and to help them stay safe is to participate in a TNR program for cats in your area.

Trap-neuter-return (TNR, also known as trap neuter release) is the only humane and effective way to save the lives of community cats, while gradually reducing their numbers. TNR saves the lives of community cats because it keeps these cats out of shelters, and it keeps the stray cat population in check by spaying or neutering them.

Here’s how TNR works:

  • Community cats are trapped in humane cat traps, either by volunteers or staff who are part of a TNR program.
  • The cats are brought to a veterinarian, who spays or neuters them and usually also vaccinates them.
  • The vet also removes a tiny portion of the tip of each cat’s left ear (called an ear-tip), a painless procedure that indicates thereafter that the cat has been spayed or neutered and doesn’t need to be trapped again.
  • The cats are then returned to their cat colony, and their outdoor homes, to continue their lives.

Here are some benefits of TNR:

  • Because many of them aren’t sociable with humans and therefore aren’t good candidates for adoption, community cats are at great risk of being killed if they end up in shelters. Cats who go through a TNR program are sterilized and then returned to the locations where they were trapped.
  • Un-altered cats often exhibit nuisance behaviors such as spraying, fighting, howling and roaming. Spaying and neutering help to reduce those behaviors.
  • TNR helps keep cats healthy because the cats are usually vaccinated as part of the TNR program, fighting among cats is reduced, and spayed cats aren’t having litter after litter of kittens.

For more about community cats:

Together, through TNR programs and the efforts of people like you, we can keep community cats safe and out of shelters, helping them to live long, happy, healthy lives.