The effort advocating for a trap-neuter-release (TNR) program — capturing, neutering and releasing stray cats to the wild — may be well intentioned but will ultimately be ineffective at reducing feral cat populations and shelter populations.
Advocates believe this method will help reduce the number of unwanted
cats and stabilize the populations over time. Additionally, they claim that established colonies are temporary in nature and will decrease in size via death or adoption.
However, this claim has been controverted in numerous scholarly articles. A study in Miami-Dade County, Florida concluded, “although the number of original colony members decreased over time, illegal dumping of unwanted cats and the attraction of stray cats to provisioned food offset the reductions in cat numbers caused by death and adoption.”
The authors recommended “advocates of cat colonies seek a long-term solution to pet overpopulations… by redirecting… efforts toward… managing irresponsible pet owners.”
An article published in “Animals” states “as it stands now, traditional animal control methods, including removing unclaimed, stray and feral animals from the environment, remain the most effective way to control populations of free-ranging domestic animals, including cats.”
Additionally, TNR programs, which sometimes incorporate rabies vaccinations, almost never provide the required booster shots necessary to guard against public safety. The Maryland Department of Health found cats account for 33.42% percent of all animals tested for rabies in a 17-year period, this would seem to indicate a high human exposure rate.
Also, such cat releases into the wild appear to be questionable under federal, state and local laws.
Thomas Hurt, Kerrville