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The Porter County Animal Shelter is currently working to establish a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program in Porter County for feral (wild) cats. TNR is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats. Now in practice for decades in the US after being proven in Europe, scientific studies show that TNR improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time. TNR is successfully practiced in hundreds of communities and in every landscape and setting.

What Is Trap-Neuter Return (TNR) ?

It is exactly what it sounds like: Cats are humanely trapped and taken to a veterinarian to be neutered and vaccinated. Additionally, the cats' ear is "tipped" so that it is easily distinguishable as a sterilized cat by animal control and the public. After recovery, the cats are returned to their home—their colony—outdoors. Kittens and cats who are friendly and socialized to people may be adopted into homes. Grounded in science, TNR stops the breeding cycle of cats and improves their lives while preventing reproduction. TNR provids a life-saving, effective solution for these beautiful, independent cats.

Trap-Neuter-Return Stabilizes Feral Cat Colonies

Feral Cat Colonies that are involved in TNR diminish in size over time.During an 11-year study of TNR at the University of Florida, the number of cats on campus declined by 66%, with no new kittens being born after the first four years of operation. A study of the impact of TNR on feral cat colonies in Rome, Italy, also observed colony size decrease between 16% and 32% over a 10-year period.

During an 11-year study of TNR at the University of Florida, the number of cats on campus declined by 66%, with no new kittens being born after the first four years of operation. A study of the impact of TNR on feral cat colonies in Rome, Italy, also observed colony size decrease between 16% and 32% over a 10-year period.

Trap-Neuter-Return quickly stabilizes feral cat populations by instantly ending reproduction and by removing socialized cats from the colony. A TNR program at the University of Texas A&M neutered 123 cats in its first year, and found no new litters of kittens the following year. Over the course of the same study, 20% of the cats trapped were found to be socialized stray cats and adopted.

Trap-Neuter-Return Improves Cats’ Lives

Leaders of major humane programs all over America agree that cats live healthier, more peaceful lives after TNR. It helps to stabilize the number of cats in the community and it keeps the cats healthy. TNR relieves cats of the constant stress of mating and pregnancy. The obvious benefit of Trap-Neuter-Return to the cats is that the females don’t go through cycles of producing more and more kittens. Their health is actually improved. Spaying and neutering also virtually eliminates the chance of cats developing mammary or testicular tumors. Mating behaviors cease, like roaming, yowling, spraying, and fighting.

In a 2002 study, colony caregivers reported that cats tended to roam less after neutering, which is beneficial for their safety and reduces conflict with neighbors. With decreased competition for mating, the cats are also less likely to suffer injuries. A study of a feral cat colony in London conducted found that cats were more affectionate towards each other after neutering, spending more time in groups and fighting less.

Cats’ physical health improves. Studies have found that neutering improves feral cats’ coat condition and helps them gain weight. Research at the University of Florida shows that they gain weight and stray less after they’ve been neutered.

Cats are vaccinated against rabies. The process of Trap-Neuter-Return has an immense benefit for the cats that are involved in these programs. They’re vaccinated, so they’re less susceptible to infectious diseases. Vaccinations given during TNR protect them and help put community members at ease.

Cats live long, healthy lives. At the conclusion of the 11-year study of the impact of TNR on feral cat colonies at the University of Florida, 83% of the cats in managed TNR colonies had been residing in those colonies for more than six years—indicating a lifespan comparable to the 7.1-year lifespan of pet cats.

Our TNR Program

The Porter County Animal Shelter has started to accept applications for our Trap-Neuter-Return program. To qualify for the program, you must agree to become a Colony Caretaker for the free roaming cats you wish to have trapped, spayed/neutered, ear tipped and returned.

Colony Caretaker Responsibilities

As a Colony Caretaker, you will be required to agree to follow the TNR Colony Caretaker Best Practices for your free roaming cats. Those responsibilities include:

Providing food, water and shelter for your colony;

Making every effort to ensure that all cats in your colony (including new cat arrivals) are vaccinated against rabies, spayed/neutered, and ear tipped;

Finding a substitute caretaker to replace you temporarily or permanently on those occasions when you can no longer perform as the caretaker. For example, if you should go out of town on a trip, be temporarily disabled, or should move away so that you are unable to continue your caretaking.

Further, you must understand and recognize the inherent risks to anesthesia and surgery required for spay/neuter and ear tipping, particularly for cats that are pregnant, in heat, injured, sick and/or have no medical history available. You must also understand and recognize that the cat(s) do not undergo a pre-anesthetic evaluation by a veterinarian, and by presenting the cat(s) for surgery, you will accept the risks for any underlying health problem that would complicate surgery and/or recovery.

How To Apply

If you are a caretaker for a colony of free roaming cats, you can apply to the Shelter to have the colony spayed/neutered, ear tipped and vaccinated at no cost to you. Please understand that we have limited financial resources available, and there will be a wait list. Once you submit your online application, a Shelter representative will contact you within 10 business days of the form submission to review the submitted application and determine approval. If approved, you will be added to the wait list.

To Apply Online Now, Click On The Icon Below!

Colony Caretaker Online Application

CLICK HERE to apply as a feral cat Colony Caretaker


Click on the icon below to submit your question about Trap-Neuter-Release ONLINE NOW and the Shelter will respond to you within 48 hours!

Submit A Question Online

CLICK HERE to submit your online question about Trap-Neuter-Release