TNR stands for "trap-neuter-return." It's a humane way of managing populations of feral cats -- the cats are caught with humane box traps, taken to special veterinary clinics where they're spayed or neutered and vaccinated, and then released back where they were trapped. Since the cats are spayed/neutered, they will not breed and increase the population. They will also be healthier because they are vaccinated, and will be less bothersome to their human neighbors because many of the troublesome habits associated with feral cats are eliminated once they are spayed/neutered.
TNR is the preferred method of feral cat management in Baltimore City, and in many other municipalities around the country and the world. Previously, many municipal animal control departments dealt with feral cat complaints by trapping and euthanizing the cats. (True feral cats are not adoptable because they have never been socialized and are afraid of humans, like any other wild animal.) This was both expensive and ineffective, and also pitted those who care about and care for feral cats against those who are tasked with animal control. With TNR, on the other hand, everyone is working toward the same goal -- responsible caretakers can continue to care for the feral cats they've come to know and love, but the cat population will not continue to grow and the cats won't pose health risks to humans. In conjunction with low-cost spay/neuter programs for pet cats and robust adoption programs for stray and unwanted cats, TNR can help reduce pet overpopulation and shelter euthanasia.
Interested in learning more, or ready to start doing TNR? Click here for an explanation of how the whole process works.
We also offer a free educational workshop about TNR, in conjunction with Alley Cat Allies. It's held on the third Thursday of every month at BARCS -- we show a short video about TNR and demonstrate how to use a humane box trap. It's a very informal, small-group setting and there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions. An online video version of the workshop is also available at the Alley Cat Allies website.