TNR-What Is It and How Can I Do It?
The initials, TNR, in the animal rescue world stand for Trap, Neuter and Return. Thankfully, it's becoming the method of choice for controlling the over population of free roaming felines. The process of trapping and killing animals is as inhumane and useless as it is primitive and barbaric. The TNR approach serves as a win-win situation for the felines as well as the community. All animals have intrinsic value and deserve respect which is the basis of this proactive movement.
Trapping- Humane traps are used meaning there is no injury to the trapped animal unlike the leg traps. The trap of choice for most groups is the Havahart Live Animal Steel traps which can be purchased online or found in most Lowe's Home Improvement Stores. To trap successfully, you will withhold food from the intended animal for one day to insure kitty takes the bait. When feeding ferals it's always best to feed at the same time everyday to establish a routine. The day of trapping you will need your trap, can of tuna, sardines or anything else yummy, a blanket or twin size sheet and newspaper or plastic tarp used for lining your vehicle during transport. It's also a good idea to acquaint yourself with the mechanics of the trap and it's door prior to the time of trapping. Once you've arrived at the site, simply set the trap by sliding the canned goody past the trip plate and hook the door open. Setting the trap on a level surface helps as the trap won't easily trip and spook the cat if jumps on top of the trap before entering. When kitty has finally gotten curious and hungry enough you will hear the door slam shut. The cat will usually cry out in fear and that's when you'll cover the trap with the blanket or sheet. Covering the trap reduces stress and he or she should quiet immediately. Now on to the...
Neutering-The appointment for spaying/neutering should be within hours of your trapping unless you can house the trapped feline the day before. Using a low cost clinic is your best choice. When making the appointment stress the fact that you are bringing a feral cat who is in a trap. Most high volume clinics are familiar with ferals and offer a feral package which includes a flea treatment, vaccination and ear-tipping (clipping the tip of one ear to identify the cat as being free-roaming and has been altered). Usually you will drop off and pick up the cat during the same day. Instruction sheets are provided by the clinic and recovery is usually 2-3 days. A litter box can be placed under the trap if you place the trap on a couple of bricks. And when feeding, you'll open the trap door as little as possible and slide a can inside. Heavily dilute the canned entree if space doesn't allow for both food & water dishes. The trap should remain covered during the recovery time.
Returning-Once your furry friend has recovered it's time to return him or her back "home". Back to familiar sounds, smells and territory. Since feral cats prefer the dark of night, it's best to return them in the evening. Simply set the trap door to open, walk away and you'll watch him or her take advantage of being set free and run into the night. And, of course, will be happy & healthy for tomorrow's feeding.
If you're in need of help with a TNR project, contact your local humane society for resource information. Use Facebook to reach out to other feral groups for advice. Search online for low cost spay and neuter clinics. Trapping, Neutering and Returning does take a little effort but saving lives is a huge return for your investment.
Humane Feral Cat Trap
Alley Cat Allies
- Alley Cat Allies
Dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of our nation's cats. Organization advocating trap/neuter/return as a method of reducing feral cat populations. Action alerts, donation information, FAQ, newsletters, press releases, and merchandise.