Trap, Neuter, Return-What is It?

Feral cats resting together. Feral cats often live in colonies, groups of feral cats that live together in one territory, often near food sources and shelter.

Trap, Neuter, Return-What is It?

 What is TNR?

Trap, Neuter & Return is the non-lethal, welfare motivated method of reducing the reproduction of feral cats in the community. Cats are humanely trapped, neutered by a vet before returning them to their colony homes to continue their free lives once more. While they are at the vets, the uppermost top of the left ear is cut painlessly across in a straight line to show the cat has been TNR’d. Cats undertaking TNR also have a full health assessment and are subject to parasite treatment.

Galway Cat Rescue

Galway Cat Rescue have partnered with Petmania Galway to help find local homes for cats in their care. They are an all-volunteer group of animal lovers that are committed to helping homeless cats in Galway, and dedicated to give every cat a chance to live a safe, healthy and happy life.

They operate using a network of fosterers who look after cats and kittens in their own homes. This provides the best possible opportunity for them to become well socialised in a normal domestic environment.

Galway Cat Rescue want cats to find a forever home in the shortest time-frame, and by adopting best practice adoption protocols and early age neuter/spay procedures, they can go to these homes directly from the invaluable socialising care a foster home provides.

For more on Galway Cat Rescue, visit their website here. 

Is TNR the Best Solution?

TNR helps saves cats’ lives, and is very effective in stopping the breeding cycle. It is the most humane way in controlling feral cat populations, as over time the number of feral cats in a colony will be naturally reduced due to no new kittens being born.

There is also a reduction in aggressive behaviour such as fighting, yowling, and spraying in male cats, as they are no longer competing for mating with un-spayed females. This should allow the local community residents to be less concerned about noise, smell, and out-of-control breeding in the colony.

How Do I Avail of TNR?

Galway Cat Rescue offer support for community members looking to undertake TNR in their areas, as do a number of other organisations around the country.

We have TNR’d up to 3,400 cats, and 1,450 have been successfully rehomed.

Educating and informing the public about the care of cats and the importance of spaying and neutering their pets is one of our priorities. Our mission is to solve the Galway feral cat overpopulation crisis through TNR.

Feral cat sitting at edge of woods after TNR

After TNR

Once the TNR process is complete, you can provide the cats with fresh drinking water, food, and even shelter. Often providers of these needs are called colony caretakers.

If you are feeding a colony, watch out for any health issues, and if you notice any of the cats are sick, trap them and bring them to the vets. Some health issues, such as FIV, can spread quickly throughout a colony, and even to peoples’ pets if it is not controlled.

Other Benefits to TNR

Population control and animal welfare are the two key benefits to TNR, but there also other advantages too. The presence of a small number of healthy animals is enough to deter rodents, and having a healthy, neutered cat colony can reduce mice and rat numbers.


Want to help?

If you are in the Galway area, you can contact Galway Cat Rescue at  [email protected]. There are many other organisations around Ireland that can help with the TNR process too.

When contacting us regarding feral cats, it is helpful if you have as much information as possible:

  • The approximate number of adult cats and kittens;
  • The location of the cat colony;
  • Whether there are any sick cats;
  • Whether somebody is providing food and water;
  • Whether they have shelter;
  • Whether hands-on or financial help is possible.

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