Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the act of humanely trapping feral cats to have them spayed/neutered, vaccinated then returning them where they were found. Stray Cat Blues advocates the humane solution of TNR for feral cats because it is a proven effective part of the long-term solution to the cat overpopulation crisis.

About the TNR

Why TNR?

The gestation period of a cat is only 2 months, meaning an unsprayed mother can easily have 3-4 pregnancies per year, each litter containing an average of 4 to 8 kittens. That’s a lot of kittens! If you rescue a litter of kittens without trapping and spaying/neutering the parents, then they will continue breeding and another litter of homeless kittens would be born a few months later. So we must do our part to spay and neuter feral cats and kittens to stop the cycle.

Why return them?

Can’t they all be adopted into homes? If a cat has lived its whole life in the wild, they are not socialized to humans or considered feral. Young kittens can be socialized within a few days or weeks of being cared for by humans. However, this is highly unlikely to happen with an adult feral cat. They are scared and want nothing more than to be returned to their home. Returning these feral cats to their home happy, healthy, vaccinated and spayed/neutered is the goal. Having cats altered and vaccinated will keep them, the colony and people’s pets healthy and safe from communicable diseases. Feral cats who are altered will no longer roam, fight or breed which lower the risk of spreading disease. Removing cats from their home environment is not the answer because new unaltered cats will move in and continue the cycle.

How Can You Help?


If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, please take the initiative and have them spayed or neutered. Stray Cat Blues is happy to provide guidance and loan traps out to you. We can help cover costs if you are unable to afford the whole project in exchange for a donation. We have access to many low-cost clinics that are not open to the public, so don’t hesitate to reach out! If a volunteer is available, they can take on the trapping project.

If the cats are friendly (able to be petted, picked up, meow/purr, seek out attention), then they may be candidates to be placed into indoor homes. If possible, bring the cat(s) inside temporarily while you work to place them with a rescue.

While Stray Cat Blues does have one Barn Cat foster home, we only rarely have space to accept new feral cats into this foster home. It is difficult for us to find homes for these cats, particularly as the suburbs have expanded out into our service area and there are fewer farms.


Our primary advice is to TNR feral cats and return them to your yard or the area that they were trapped. If this is impossible, you can click on the tab at right for the TNR Assistance List, which includes some other rescues that also have Barn Cat foster homes. We also suggest networking with friends and family to try to identify a rural home for the cats. Once you have identified a new home for the cats, here is a link about how to safely relocate the cats.

Be prepared for disasters - Click here for information on how to care for your outside cats when the weather threatens.

If you are caring for feral cats and are moving, consider first if there is a way that you can take the cats with you to your new home.  If you cannot take the cats with you, knock on the doors of neighbors to see if anyone is willing to take care of the cats.  Be sure that all the cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated.  That way the new caretaker will only immediately need to take over providing food, water and shelter.  If you have outside shelters, if possible offer to give them to the new caretaker.  Here is a link with additional ideas regarding colony care - click here.

Other Resources

Comprehensive resources for TNR are provided online by Alley Cat Allies, a national non-profit. Have questions about TNR? You can get answers by clicking the button below for the Best Friends Frequently Asked Questions page.

While Stray Cat Blues is dedicated to effective TNR, we cannot guarantee that we can take on every request. For a list of other groups providing TNR and related services in Philadelphia and the surrounding regions, click the button below.

Looking for low-cost TNR?

Click below for a list of organizations in Pennsylvania that provides low-cost Trap-Neuter-Return services for animals.


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