Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) is a non-lethal method of managing feral cat colonies, in which cats are humanely (painlessly) trapped, tested for certain diseases, given vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and returned to the area they were trapped in. Once returned to their colony residents or caregivers in the area provide them with food, water, and shelter. TNR is the best chance feral cats have of living safe, healthy lives without reproducing.
Returning feral cats to their “homes” prevents new cats from moving in to the area and maintains a small but stable population of cats that cannot reproduce, preventing thousands of unwanted kittens. TNR is a hands-on project requiring commitment from one or more volunteer caregivers in any given area. Please refer to Alley Cat Allies website for information or contact RCACAC directly if you’d like to participate in this program. This is free program for the residents and businesses of the City of Rancho Cucamonga.
According to Alley Cat Allies, the number of feral cats (undomesticated cats, usually considered wild) in the United States alone is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Sadly, many communities still opt to control populations using outdated methods, including lethal elimination or relocation. Not only are some of these methods horribly cruel, they are ineffective.
Many studies have shown that removing wild cats from an area only increases the number of cats over time. This is called the vacuum effect and is seen in many wildlife populations. As new cats that can reproduce move into an area where resident cats have been trapped and removed, they reproduce at a much higher level to reach carrying capacity again. This means more litters per year and more kittens in each litter. The only successful way to deal with a “cat problem” is to maintain a healthy and stable population that cannot reproduce, such as with a TNR program.