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Trap Neuter Return - TNR

What is a feral cat?

Feral cats cannot be picked up or handled by humans. They are the offspring of outdoor cats who roam free and are not sterilized. These wild cats are often many generations removed from human ownership and cannot be placed into a typical home situation.

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a method of humanely controlling feral cat populations. TNR involves several steps. First, the cats are humanely trapped. 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.

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 also reduces the number of free-roaming cats. Additionally, TNR stops many nuisance cat behaviors like spraying, yowling and fighting. Through TNR, cats are vaccinated and sterilized, and unhealthy cats are removed.

The Wisconsin Humane Society’s TNR Program

The Wisconsin Humane Society offers a TNR service. The program provides sterilization and vaccination services to feral cats for a nominal fee. Any person who wants to have a feral cat spayed or neutered, and who agrees to our program guidelines is welcome to participate. 

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 and wildlife.

Click here if you have questions about feral cats in your neighborhood.

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