What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program through which free-roaming Community Cats (not belonging to a particular person) are humanely trapped; health checked; spayed or neutered; ear tipped; treated for parasites (fleas, ticks, worms and ear mites) and then returned to the outdoor locations in which they were found – as long as it is a safe environment for the cats.

Removing cats from their established territory is only done as a last resort and only if a safe relocation site is available. At the relocation site the feral cats must be caged for four weeks so they can become accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of their new home. A regular feeding pattern must be established and this is a great motivating factor to encourage the cats to stay at their new home.

In order for the TNR program to be effective, ALL the cats in the Colony need to be neutered.

Most feral cats are not adoptable. Their only option is to remain as outdoor cats.

Pregnant cats, mums with kittens and older weaned kittens will be looked after and the kittens will be socialized, if necessary and then found homes. The mums will be spayed and returned to the colony.

Sometimes tame cats who have been lost or abandoned will join established colonies – often drawn to the food source.

Homes will be found for any friendly cats and any cats which show potential to be socialized.

This immediately reduces the size of the Colony!

Long-term care and monitoring of the Colonies and the Community Cats is provided.

Scientific studies have shown that a Community-based TNR program decreases the size of Colonies over time and helps to eliminate many of the nuisance behaviours of Community Cats that people complain about – yowling, fighting, spraying, roaming, property damage or the destruction of wildlife.

The cats are healthier and happier and fewer kittens are born. It is estimated that up to 80% of feral kittens die in their first year through accident or disease.

In an unmanaged Colony, feral cat numbers can increase to such a degree that the cats may become unhealthy through continued breeding, interbreeding, poor nutrition and fighting.

Female cats can get pregnant when they are as young as 4 months old. A cat can have one litter almost weaned and already be pregnant with another litter.

Global warming is also believed to be increasing Community Cat numbers by extending the warmer part of each year during which they typically reproduce.


It is difficult to get close to feral cats, so any means of identification must be visible from a distance.

Ear-tipping (the left ear is trimmed) is an effective and universally accepted method used to identify a neutered (or spayed) feral cat. These cats should never be re-trapped or taken to a Rescue Centre, unless they are injured or sick.

Please help us to improve the lives of ALL Community Cats!

Are you feeding Feral Colonies or stray cats? We can help get them neutered – Please fill out the TNR Assistance Form below.

At present we are working in the North Shropshire and North Wales areas. When we have more trained Volunteers, we will be able to work further afield.

    TNR Assistance Form

    Are any of the cats (select all that apply)?
    - Friendly- Injured- Kittens- Nursing- Pregnant- None of the above

    I am able to help with?
    - Trapping- Transporting- Providing a pre/post recovery space- Returning the cats- Community outreach/mediation- Monetary Donation

    Additional Resources

    Great information from International Cat Care on TNR is available here.