What is the Most Effective Way to Control Feral Cat Numbers

What is the most effective way to control feral cat numbers

The answer to that will depend on who you ask…and believe! There are many proponents of TNR (trap-neuter-release) who will tell you without a shadow of a doubt, it is the only truly effective way to reduce the number of feral cats on the streets. On the other side you will have an equally passionate group who will tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, TNR does not work at all and can even be considered cruel.

What is TNR

TNR or trap-neuter-release, involves trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, making a slit on their left ear so they are easily identified, returning them to where they were trapped, then fed and cared for by people known as caretakers.

Those in the pro-TNR camp

They believe it is the most effective and humane way to reduce cat overpopulation. When you take away the ability to breed, fewer kittens will be born and over time the fixed cats will die off naturally. Job done!

Those in the anti-TNR camp

They believe it is cruel to put cats back onto the street where they can be hurt, suffer from illness and disease, and keep decimating the bird population. Most importantly they don’t believe it reduces their numbers. They don’t always present an alternative, they just like to bash TNR. Oh, and many believe killing them is the way to go.

What is the Most Effective Way to Control Feral Cat Numbers

What I believe

I have always been a proponent of TNR, and still am. It seems logical – fix a cat, they can’t breed, no kittens suffering and dying.

Since I started my website I have been reading some posts from the “opposition.” What surprised me was how eye opening I found them, and I even understand some of their arguments.

While trapping and fixing a cat will mean no more kittens for that one, it doesn’t stop all the others from breeding and numbers will still rise.

You have to TNR most of the ferals in order to drastically reduce overpopulation. Statistics differ, I’ve read anywhere from 71%-94%.

Cats returned to the streets can still be hit by cars and get sick.

If they are indeed killing birds, (and there are plenty that refute that claim), there will still be plenty of cats to carry on.

Does this prove their point about TNR not working?

No, it just shows TNR initiatives must be widespread, and that’s the tricky part.

The challenges of widescale spay/neuter

Lots of amazing individuals trap and care for colonies in their area, but there is only so much one person can do and only so much money they have to spend.

Opposition from neighbours can make a rescuer’s life a living hell. That means they may have to spend late nights going out so they aren’t seen, or they’re so harassed they’re forced to stop. Two women I know were hurt in altercations, one ended up in hospital.

Not enough or no government involvement to make this a community wide initiative, and that includes funding.

Lack of willingness for people to work together towards a common goal.

Let’s look at the champions and the nay sayers

I’ve decided to include links to articles from those who believe TNR is the only way, and those who are convinced it’s a waste of resources. Seeing the “argument” from different perspectives can make this issue clearer for you, and even help when discussing it with others.

Please take note of the authors of each of these articles. Do they have any expertise or is it just personal opinion?  That will help you figure out how much weight to give to their argument.

Advocates for TNR

No Surprise: TNR Works 

The Benefits of Feral Cat TNR programs vs euthanasia 

Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats? The Case for TNR 

Community cats: scientific studies and data 

Helping stray cats: TNR is the key

Does TNR work in controlling feral cat populations

Opposition to TNR

Sorry, Cat Lovers: Trap-Neuter-Return Simply Doesn’t Work 

Trap Neuter Release 

Cats: Why Trap Neuter Return does not work

I must comment about the video above. I watched it but I was annoyed about no solid evidence, not to mention taking offense when he called people who care about sentient beings “crazy cat ladies.” I also found the comments from people who have seen TNR work more compelling.

To TNR, or Not to TNR—That Is the Question 

This isn’t clearly for or against, I just wanted a link to a post about cats and birds. 

Are cats causing bird declines

I’m tired of it all

The only thing I care about are the cats and kittens breeding uncontrollably on the streets of countries around the world. I care about the suffering they endure every minute of every day. I have witnessed some of it, and it breaks my heart.

I am tired of reaching out to rescuers offering to help …but getting no response.

I’m tired of the constant arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong. Fixing a cat ends breeding, fixing more cats ends more breeding. It’s logical so why don’t people see it?

I’m tired of the apathy towards suffering.

In spite of everything that pisses me off, the things I’m tired of also spur me on. I will never give up advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves. You and I need to be a voice for the voiceless and it is as simple as that.

trap neuter and release cats works

What you can do

If you believe TNR is the way forward –

Start noticing what’s going on in your neighbourhood

Find rescuers doing TNR in your area and offer to help

Ask a friend or neighbour and start trapping together

Be an advocate for feral cats – “How to Advocate for Feral Cats in Your Community


Do you believe TNR works? Have you had experience seeing results? If you don’t believe it’s the best option, what would you recommend? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments below.


Please help support my spay/neuter campaign by donating and sharing. You can find all the details on my GoFundMe page.















2 Replies to “What is the Most Effective Way to Control Feral Cat Numbers”

  1. Hello, I want to know is it true that city goverment of Jerusalim want to buy food for feral cats and feed them? And to they participate in TNR project? Thank you. Greetings from Budva, Montenegro.

    • Hi and thanks for your comment. So sorry to have taken so long to respond. People who feed feral cats in Jerusalem are entitled to buy cat food at a reduced rate. The gov’t does not actively participate in TNR, but do offer free spay/neuter with a very long wait list. I’m actually hosting a meeting on Wed evening to discuss the current situation with both government involvement (or lack of) and what people are doing to help. Have you been to Israel before and how did you develop an interest in the feral cat issue there?

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