What is Trap Neuter Return and How does it help neighborhood cats?

What Is TNR?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program in which outdoor cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, ear-tipped and returned to the location where they were found. TNR is the most humane and effective method for stabilizing and eventually reducing outdoor cat populations.


Outdoor cats are humanely trapped by those participating in the TNR Program or volunteers assisting those who qualify for “trapping assistance”. The traps used are humane, "TruCatch box traps."


The cats are spayed or neutered by a veterinarian. These surgeries are sometimes called “fixing” or “altering” a cat. The left ear is “tipped” to identify the cat as fixed. “Tipped” means that a tiny part of the ear is snipped to indicate that the cat has been altered. This procedure is performed while the cat is under anesthesia. Ear-tipping is a universal identifier of a sterilized homeless outdoor cat and helps those who are trapping cats to know that the spay/neuter has already been completed, thus avoiding subjecting the cat to a needless trapping and a second unnecessary surgical experience.


The cats are returned to their original location where caregivers may continue to provide food and water.

Where do Outdoor Cats come from?

Most outdoor cats are either abandoned pets or the offspring of abandoned pets. Oftentimes, the offspring are not socialized to people.

What are the Benefits of TNR?

● Ends the breeding cycle and stabilizes cat populations
● More effective and less expensive than extermination
● Eliminates or minimizes annoying behaviors such as spraying, yowling and fighting
● Helps end the suffering of unwanted, homeless cats
● Reduces euthanasia due to the number of cats and kittens flooding the already overburdened shelters


What Resources are Available to Help Me Utilize TNR?

The Animal Defense League of Arizona offers a county-wide, affordable TNR program. A donation of $25 per cat is requested. However, if you are unable to make a donation, financial assistance options are available.

Thanks to funding from PetSmart Charities, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Fix.Adopt.Save partners, residents in the following zip codes that include some of the highest feline surrender rates in our community can receive FREE assistance. Visit our TNR Areas page to find out more.

Need More Information?

For more information, please call the Spay Neuter Hotline at 602.265.7729 or visit the Animal Defense League of Arizona's website at www.adla.org.
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