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Trap Neuter Return - TNR

WHS offers Trap Neuter Return programs at our Milwaukee, Racine, and Ozaukee Campuses.

We cannot accommodate TNR or barn cat surgeries at our Milwaukee and Ozaukee Campuses at this time. We hope to resume them in Milwaukee and Ozaukee as soon as we're able. Please keep an eye on the website for updates, and please share that we’re hiring!  


The Wisconsin Humane Society's TNR program provides spay/neuter 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 guidelines is welcome to participate. 

For the WHS service overview and discharge instructions, click here

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.

What traps are best?

To utilize our TNR services, it is important that you use the appropriate equipment to trap a feral cat.

The most commonly used traps are Tomahawk and Tru Catch constructed of 16 gauge 1" x 1" galvanized wire mesh. We recommend models that have both front and back doors and are 30" or 36" long by 12" high since the cats will be spending both pre-surgery holding and post-surgery recovery time in the trap. Two-door traps of the right height make caring for the cats safer and easier for you as a caretaker and increase the safety of veterinary staff handling more fractious animals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our Feral Cat FAQs for more detailed information!