Every month, a volunteer force traps feral felines, fixes them and then puts them back where they came from. This method is practiced nationwide and is meant to replace the standard municipal strategy: trap and kill.
TNR proponents I spoke with for my news article “Claws Out” argue that returning fixed cats to their colonies decreases feral populations. The feline resumes its position in the neighborhood without birthing more kittens. If it were simply killed, another unfixed cat would take its place.
But I also spoke with a former city shelter veterinarian, who said TNR is unethical and inhumane. She argues without disease testing, the volunteers are just dooming the cats to long, slow deaths on the street.
There are no easy answers, but here’s what you can do:
Residents can help slow the rise of feral colonies by having their pets fixed, says Jayne Sage of New Mexico Animal Friends. She also recommends that if you start feeding feral cats, you should have them spayed or neutered. "Don't wait until there's kittens."
If you meet low-income requirements, take your animal to the shelter for free or low-cost sterilization.
Animal Humane New Mexico also offers low-income spay and neuter services.