TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, Return. It involves trapping feral cats in humane traps, having them spayed or neutered so that they cannot produce further offspring, and then after a short recovery period, returning them to their colony to live the remainder of their lives.
Feral cats are descended from lost or abandoned stray cats that learned to live outdoors. They are generally fearful of people and unaccustomed to being handled and will generally not adapt well to living indoors as a household pet. However they are not completely wild, as they depend on humans for food, whether a caretaker who feeds them regularly or neighborhood garbage. Few subsist by hunting. The most compassionate choice for feral cats is to let them live outdoors, but there are many things you can do to improve and maintain their health and quality of life.
Feral cats often live together in groups, or colonies. MORE HERE.
We are not set up to provide significant help with these types of projects. We recommend that you contact Neighborhood Cats and/or Feral Cat Initiative for them to provide more targeted advice. Through these organizations you can sign up for TNR courses that will instruct you in feral cat and feral colony management and TNR protocols. Once you take the course you are also eligible to participate in low cost spay/neuter programs for the feral cats.
That being said, we want to encourage responsiveness and care of NYC’s feral cats. We can possibly help with small and targeted projects – especially if you are willing to provide much of the support. We can also help if some of the cats in the colony turn out to be friendly and adoptable (check out our Friendly Found Cat Information Page) and/or if additional medical care is needed beyond the simple sterilization.
Poisoning or injuring stray and feral cats is a crime in NYC and punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment. Neutering and spaying the feral cats will ensure that they are quieter and better neighbors. Removing the cats by trapping them and turning them into the ACC will generally mean that these cats will be euthanized. It doesn’t remove your cat problem either, because generally new un-neutered/spayed cats will simply move in and you will need to repeat the trapping process. As a result, we do not support removal as a solution.