TNR Stands for Much More than Trap-Neuter-Return

TNR means caring for the outdoor feral cat colonies by providing food, water, shelter and medical care as needed after their spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations.

TNR means reporting on and monitoring the outdoor cat colony numbers.

TNR means fostering and adopting out stray cats.

TNR means finding and helping animals in alleys and streets, including lost dogs and pet birds.

TNR means humanely euthanizing fatally ill or injured animals at a vet’s office.

TNR means talking to the public about the colony cats and helping with care for their own indoor pets.

TNR means finding cases of animal abuse and hoarding situations and doing something about it.

One of my trapping projects this past fall encompasses a lot of those things and shows what education and effort can do to help us all work together to ultimately help the animals.

Along with two other experienced caretakers, I trapped all week in an alley which started out with the residents coming out to yell at us and calling us “cat killers.” After some discussion, we figured out that they wanted the outdoor cats, and thought we were going to take them away permanently. During this we trapped a cat that was already ear tipped (TNR’d), showed them the ear tip, and let the cat back out. The people then started to trust us.

That week we trapped at least a half dozen other ear tipped cats and let them out, but also trapped five unaltered cats, which we took to the clinic to be fixed and vaccinated, and showed the residents each time that we were letting the cats back out in the same place.

These same residents are now advocates of ours and are trying to help us. They want to adopt any kittens that we might find. They are telling us about other places with cats outside. One person came out asking about surgery for his dogs so we provided him with low-cost spay/neuter information.

We also showed a group of concerned children what we were doing when they saw the traps. They were very excited by the idea, and talked to us about their pet cats.

One girl said she had a new pet kitten that “wasn’t eating” and took us into her home to show us. The kitten had not been weaned yet and they did not have any idea about kitten food. Another kitten there was lethargic and had a bulge on its side. We gave them information on low-cost clinics to look at the sick kitten, and then drove to Petsmart to buy the baby kitten some formula as it cannot eat the food they were trying to provide it.

That is how TNR works in a community. The more that people know about it, the more they will show you how much they care and want to help.

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