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TNR / Trap-Neuter-Return
The Humane Alternative To Homeless Cat Euthanasia

Picture a running faucet.  No one wants the water to spill, so someone fills a bucket.  But the water keeps running, so we fill another bucket -- and this continues for a hundred years with no end in sight.  Worse, when we fill up all the buckets -- which is often -- we discard the old water because we need the buckets to catch new water from the ever-running faucet.

We're so busy filling buckets that no one realizes the faucet can be turned off.  Then the water would stop flowing and no more buckets would be needed to hold the displaced water -- and no more water would be discarded for not having enough buckets.

Sadly, this is our cat sheltering scenario.  We keep taking homeless cats -- ferals, strays, displaced pets, newborn kittens -- to our shelters and rescues -- and when there is no more space, which is often -- we "discard" the excess.  And this despite our spending over 2 billion dollars nationally each year to shelter homeless pets.  The problem is clear and the solution is known -- but so long as we have intact cats reproducing, the vicious cycle continues.

Alternatively, we could direct our resources at turning off the faucet -- pro-active sterilization of all cats, feral and companion.  The large flood of kittens would stop and we would have only cats we can care for -- so we would have no more need to shelter!  All we need to accomplish this is to turn off the faucet that's been running for a century.  Stop dreaming of bigger shelters and concentrate on halting the uncontrolled reproduction of cats.  Our TLC/for The Love of Cats programs are dedicated to this goal.  Won't you join us in this mission?

Our TNR Program

Our TNR Program provides free spay/neuter and vaccination assistance to managed outdoor cats.

Eligibility. Because our goal is overall feline population reduction, we focus on those cats that stand the best chance of living in their habitat for the longest time.  The cats must have long-term committed caregivers providing daily food, water and dry shelter -- and the property owner's permission to live out their lives in their original habitat.  Rescued or adopted cats are not eligible.

Our program covers all of Washtenaw County and much of the surrounding areas (see map).

Kittens. Whenever possible, young kittens should be brought indoors, socialized and then adopted out person-to-person to indoor homes.  Our Snip-N-Chip Program will sterilize qualified kittens after they are permanently situated.  If the kittens are not adopted, they should be returned to their outdoor colony and sterilized through our TNR Program.

Commitment. An ongoing good faith effort must be made to monitor the colony and promptly sterilize all the cats (male and female) -- including any subsequent newcomers -- even when live-trapping is necessary.

Procedure. To qualify, first read our Feral Colony Management handbook -- then call us or print out an application.  After you've returned it and it's approved, we'll mail some initial veterinary vouchers to get you started.  As you use them, we'll send more until all the cats are done.  Work done without voucher authorization is not funded.  Continued participation requires continued compliance with the program.

Trap-Neuter Return (TNR) Policy Statement
Humane Society of the United States
March, 2006

"...The HSUS advocates community-based Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs with on-going responsible management of as the most viable, long-term approach available at this time to reduce feral cat populations.

Responsible management of existing feral cat colonies should include:  humane trapping, sterilization, rabies vaccination, and treatment for illness or injury;  removal of kittens and friendly adults for possible placement in homes;  euthanasia of animals whose suffering cannot be alleviated;  ear-tipping and returning ferals to the same location where they were trapped provided they would not face imminent risks;  and providing lifelong care consisting of adequate food, water and shelter as well as regular monitoring of the colony for sickness, injury, and the arrival of new animals.

The goal of any feral cat management program should be to maximize quality of life for the cats and to eliminate the existing colony over time through attrition..."

Our Spay/Neuter Programs

Our TNR Program is open to managed outdoor cats living within our service area (see map).  It's purpose is to create a network of kitten-free zones -- individual plots of land that caring members of our community manage and maintain as "kitten-free".  Linked together, these non-reproducing colonies will eventually end the community's reliance on homeless cat euthanasia as the primary means of controlling our cat population. 

Our Snip N'Chip Program is open to indoor pet cats of limited-income families who have a long-term commitment to their cats but cannot afford to sterilize them.  We pay the entire cost.  These unsterilized pet cats are the second largest contributor to our current over-population -- each kitten born contributing, directly or indirectly, to the death of one more homeless cat.  Please get your cats sterilized.

These programs may be changed or canceled without notice at our sole discretion.

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