Trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs are a safe, effective, and humane way to address the community cat population. States across the nation, including Florida, have adopted TNR programs to improve the lives of community cats and address overpopulation concerns.
Community cats are unowned, outdoor cats that don’t typically enjoy human contact. They often live in groups, or colonies, and seek shelter wherever they can find warmth and food. Because these cats are free to roam outdoors, they’re also free to reproduce at high rates leading to feral, undomesticated overpopulation.
That’s where trap-neuter-return programs come in.
How Does Trap-Neuter-Return Work?
Trap-neuter-return, also referred to as trap and release, is when a community cat is respectfully trapped (using a box trap), neutered or spayed at a local veterinarian, vaccinated, eartipped and returned to where they were found.
By going through the TNR program, these community cats go on to live long, healthy lives. In fact, a 2003 long-term observation study showed that 83% of TNR cats were still living in their colony more than 6 years after the TNR program.
Eartipping is the universal sign that a cat has been spayed or neutered as a part of a TNR program. This helps caretakers, animal control personnel and trappers identify them from a distance. This procedure is performed while the cat is anesthetized and is usually painless.
Why Support Trap and Release?
It might seem like trap and release programs aren’t safe and cause harm to cats, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Trap-neuter-release programs save cat lives and stabilize the community cat population.
In fact, when TNR was first brought to Washington D.C., there was a colony of 54 community cats living in an alley. Trap and release was implemented and, over time, the colony naturally declined and stabilized. The cats were even welcomed into the neighborhoods and cared for by residents.
Florida Animal Friends Supports TNR Programs
Trap and release programs have been widely adopted by animal shelters, governments and animal humane groups. Florida Animal Friend also supports the program, wanting to reduce the number of feral cats and the impact they have on wildlife.
To help local Florida nonprofits and municipalities run TNR programs (or offer spay and neuter programs), Florida Animal Friend awards annual grants to help cover the costs associated with these programs. We’re proud to partner with organizations providing no- and low-cost spay and neuter services and work towards saving the lives of stray cats and dogs.
If you want to help increase adoption of trap and release programs, decrease animal overpopulation and save cat lives in your local community, contact your local shelter or Florida Animal Friend to learn more.
Florida Animal Friend is committed to saving the lives of cats and dogs through low-cost spay and neuter and trap-neuter-release programs. For more information on Florida Animal Friend, or to contribute to our goal of ending animal overpopulation throughout the state, please purchase a plate or donate today.