Trap-Neuter-Return Program - Michigan Humane Society

Trap-Neuter-Return Program

Low-cost feral cat Trap-Neuter-Release program to reduce the number of homeless cats and provide much-needed care

April 20, 2015

Feral Cat Colony Workshop

Every year, thousands of feral cats, whose natural habitat is outdoors, away from people, are born in metro Detroit.

This program sponsored
in part by:

Petco Foundation

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) has proven to be the most effective and humane approach to managing feral cats, providing a healthier and a more controlled feral cat colony. 

Feral cats are either lost or abandoned cats who reverted to an undomesticated state, or they were born in the wild and raised without human contact. Because feral cats generally are not able to be socialized and placed into adoptive homes (there are exceptions, but this can take a commitment of months or years), the most humane option is to ensure that they can live out their lives outdoors while not breeding more homeless cats.

Feral cats live in groups called colonies and can be found anywhere there is food and shelter. TNR programs improve the lives of these animals and the people who live near them. 

The traditional animal control approach to managing colonies is to catch and kill the animals, which temporarily reduces the colony, but does nothing to prevent the remaining cats from breeding. In addition, it can lead to a vacuum effect, whereby other feral cats find the old colony's food and shelter and continue to breed, creating a population equal to the size of the former colony.

TNR programs work by reducing or eliminating breeding, which stabilizes the population and reduces the number of cats over time. Without the stress and behaviors associated with breeding, the majority of remaining animals can live healthy lives in their colonies. They also become much better neighbors!

Getting a colony sterilized is an opportunity to save many lives. Left unsterilized, the feral cats and their offspring would continue to reproduce, potentially introducing thousands of unwanted cats into the community.

Participation in the MHS' TNR program provides those who wish to or are already managing a feral cat colony near their home or workplace with the opportunity to have the cats sterilized, vaccinated and left ear-tipped at a low cost. Caretakers will be provided with information on proper techniques and equipment to humanely trap feral cats and bring them to the Michigan Humane Society for sterilization and care. The cats will then be released back into their habitat by their caretaker. As a caretaker, it will be your responsibility to trap, recover and release the cats. You should also plan to provide food, water and shelter on a daily basis, while monitoring the colony for any injury or illness.

It's easy to join MHS' low-cost feral cat TNR program. Register online below to be invited to view the training webinar series.

  Please complete the form below if you are interested in using MHS' Trap-Neuter-Return Program.
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To learn more about caring for feral cats and successful TNR, we recommend visiting the websites of the following organizations that specialize in assisting feral cats: Alley Cat Allies (, Neighborhood Cats ( and Indy Feral (

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