Whether rural or urban, homeless cats live in every community. Some are mate-seeking pets, lost to wandering. Others are abandoned, the product of unwanted litters. Many were born homeless and grew up feral due to little or no human interaction.
Nationwide estimates place the homeless cat population in the tens of millions, with some estimates as high as 70 million. Seventy million homeless cats, each with a different story but one thing in common: an unfixed house cat.
The true cause of the homeless cat population is a lack of spaying and neutering. Indoor/outdoor cats are left to roam and mate. Indoor cats not spayed/neutered eagerly sneak out of home to breed. Their unwanted offspring often become homeless, join cat colonies and continue to reproduce. But there is a way to stop the cycle: Trap Neuter Return (TNR) and high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter clinics.
Trap Neuter Return (TNR) is the non-lethal, humane practice of capturing and spaying/neutering feral cats, then returning them to their colony. Volunteers, cat colony caretakers and high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter clinics manage TNR programs. Some organizations, such as IndyFeral, Animal Friends Humane Society, OAR, UCAN and Whistle Stop in Oxford, Ohio, have traps available to borrow or purchase. Visit our map to find high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter clinics and TNR programs near you.
During the TNR process, veterinarians perform a thorough exam, spay/neuter and vaccinations. After recovery, adoptable cats (strays) are placed in forever homes via no-kill shelters, while untamed (feral) cats are returned to their colony. With time and targeted TNR (the TNR of entire colonies at once vs. at random), feral cat communities experience a natural reduction in population and improved quality of life.
Through TNR, feral cats now receive the same spay/neuter health benefits as pet cats. The stress of finding a mate and problematic mating behaviors–fighting, yowling, urine spraying–stop, creating more peaceful feral cat communities. And most important, fewer feline lives are lost to overpopulation.
During spay/neuter, veterinarians painlessly tip the left ear of feral cats that will return to their colony. Ear tipping identifies cats that have already been spayed/neutered, which helps TNR efforts and tells animal control the cat is cared for.
Volunteer at high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter clinics near you or join a feline advocacy group with a TNR program already in place. In the Cincinnati area, contact Ohio Alley Cat Resource to learn how to help feral cat colonies and participate in TNR. For TNR programs in the Indianapolis area, contact IndyFeral.
If you discover a feral cat colony, do not call animal control. Animal control will remove and kill the cats. If you capture a feral cat, do not take it to animal control or a shelter, unless it’s a no-kill shelter. It will be put to death.Visit our map to find high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter clinics and safe places for ferals