Feral Cat Management: TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return)
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a method being promoted as a humane alternative to euthanasia for managing and reducing feral cat populations.
How it works: Trap-Neuter-Return begins with the trapping of feral cats using humane cage traps. The captured feral cats are taken to a veterinary clinic where they are sterilized. Typical TNR programs also involve vaccinating the cats against certain diseases like rabies, feline panleukopenia, herpes, and calicivirus. Finally the cats are marked so that they can be easily identified as a sterilized feral (usually by cropping the pointed end of the ear so that it has a square appearance - known as ear tipping) and released back to where they were trapped.
Practitioners of TNR believe that this method, over the long-term, is a more effective means of reducing wild cat populations than traditional eradication methods. They argue that when all cats in a feral cat colony are removed, fertile cats from surrounding areas typically move into the vacated area to take over shelter and food resources -- and begin breeding. On the other hand, sterilized feral cats returned to their site of capture do not breed and they keep fertile outsiders away. These cats also provide advantages to local property owners in keeping down rodent populations. Over time, the colony is reduced by attrition as kittens and tamable adult cats are removed to adoptive homes, seriously ill or injured cats are euthanized, and other cats die due to natural and accidental causes.
An alternative to euthanasia exists for feral cats residing in Ventura County.
If you have not yet trapped your feral cat, Valley Veterinary Non-Profit Clinic provides volunteers to trap feral cats. Contact them at 805-584-3823. Messages are checked daily. Other FREE services provided by this nonprofit include:
- Spay and Neutering of the cat
- Exam to assess the health of the animal
- Feline Leukemia Test
- Feline 3-way vaccine and Rabies vaccine
- Topical flea control
- Ear tipping
Valley Veterinary also has the ability to use a tracking collar on females who appear to have nursing kittens so that the kittens can be captured, socialized, and adopted out when they are old enough.
If you have already trapped a feral cat, call Animal Services at 805-388-4341 or 888-223-PETS. Animal Services will hold the cat for three days while you contact Valley Veterinary Non-Profit and give them permission to retrieve the cat from the shelter, perform the above services, and release the cat back to your area.
If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, please consider TNR. If you would like any additional information, call 805-383-4788.
Valley Veterinary Clinic Charitable Non-Profit Corporation
1659 E. Los Angeles Avenue • Simi Valley, CA 93065