Want to Get a Trap-Neuter-Return Program Started in Your Community?


Trap-neuter-return can make a real difference

Bryan Kortis
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Feral cat outsideTrap-Neuter-Return (TNR) can improve lives for your local community’s pets and people. It’s the only proven method to humanely and effectively control the free-roaming cat population. 

What’s more, TNR often directly reduces a community’s pet euthanasia rate by lowering the number of births and reducing intake into already-crowded shelters.

Build partnerships for success

If you’re considering starting a TNR program in your community, one of the first steps is to find other like-minded individuals who embrace the TNR concept.

You may see them feeding free-roaming cats at parks or apartment complexes, or you may find them buying cat food at your local PetSmart®. Talk to workers at local animal shelters and members of cat rescue groups to see if they’re interested, too. Also, check out the Humane Society of the United States’ list of feral cat organizations, which includes Canadian organizations, to see if one is operating in your area.

The next step is to find a veterinary or spay/neuter clinic that will provide low-cost or discount spay/neuter surgery for free-roaming cats. Talk to local veterinarians to find one who is willing to help.

Educate yourself, then help others learn

Finally, do your homework so your group becomes the TNR expert in your community. Learn the nuts and bolts of trapping and caring for free-roaming cats. Online resources include Alley Cats Allies and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

Woman snuggling catBe ready to explain how TNR plays a critical role in reducing cat intake at local shelters, how it can save taxpayer dollars, and how it improves the safety and image of a community.

Other ideas include:

  • Host a public forum to find more volunteers.
  • Build a “trap bank” so interested caretakers of the cats can borrow the equipment they need.
  • Organize a raffle, bake sale or other fundraiser to get donations and increase community awareness.

When introducing your community to TNR, keep it simple. Consider selecting a well-spoken member of your volunteer group to be spokesperson, and keep the message factual and professional. Be prepared for some opposition — it’s normal when new ideas are presented — but don’t be defensive.

Stick with it for positive results

As you will be establishing your group as the local authority with a humane, cost-effective solution for reducing the number of free-roaming cats in your community, always remain calm and courteous while being persistent. It may take several meetings, and even several months, before you start to see the positive results of all your hard work. You might find it helpful to build a relationship with a successful TNR program in your province or local area so you have a mentor to offer words of encouragement and advice.

For more details on how to start a TNR program in your community, listen to our recently completed 27-part Community Cats webinar series, which covers all aspects of TNR. 


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