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About Community Cats & Trap-Neuter-Return

What is a community cat?

A community cat, also sometimes referred to as feral, stray, or wild, are free-roaming cats who call the outdoors their home. They are members of the domestic cat species but vary in terms of their level of socialization or friendliness. Many community cats are not socialized to humans and prefer to keep their distance, often running and hiding when approached. Some community cats are “strays” who were previously someone’s pet and have been lost or abandoned.

Community cats within the same territory often form groups called “colonies” and share resources such as food and shelter. Many colonies have dedicated caregivers who provide food and shelter.

What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), also known as Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNvR) is the only humane and effective approach to managing community cat populations. Through TNR, community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped, and then returned to their outdoor home. 


What are the benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return?

  • Reduces taxpayer costs - it is estimated to cost $250 to impound, house, and euthanize a single cat  in Anne Arundel County. Whereas, TNR costs approximately $60 per cat and is often covered by private donations or grants. 
  • The colony size will stabilize (no new litters of kittens) and will eventually decrease over time.
  • The cats are vaccinated against rabies. 
  • Behaviors like howling, fighting, and spraying  will stop or decrease dramatically thus reducing citizen complaints/concerns

TNR Studies and Statistics

Community cats: scientific studies and data - a selected bibliography to illustrate that targeted TNR is a valuable tool in managing cat populations at the local level.

For more information about community cats, managing cat colonies through TNR, and methods of resolving concerns related to community cats, please visit: