Trap, Neuter, Return Program Decreases Homeless Feral Cat Population

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release: TNR Results/mlh
January 19, 2012

 Trap, Neuter, Return Program Decreases Homeless Feral Cat Population

            The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is experiencing the positive results of a trap, neuter and return (TNR) program that the municipal agency enacted in October 2008.  Since the humane solution was implemented for feral cats (outdoor cats not socialized to people), the shelter has noted a significant decrease in the number of feline offspring entering the shelter’s foster care program.

            The shelter saw a 58 percent decrease in the number of feral offspring in the shelter’s foster care program in 2011 versus in 2010.  In addition, foster data from 2008 through 2011 show a 41 percent decrease in the number of bottle-fed kittens entering the shelter and a 9 percentdecrease in the total number of kittens less than 8 weeks of age (pediatric kittens) needing foster care when comparing 2010 to 2011. 

            The Fairfax County Animal Shelter began its volunteer foster care program in 2005 to react to the volume of pediatric kittens that would benefit from out-of-shelter care. The organization’s leadership also realized that a proactive humane solution to prevent the high volume of cats and kittens from entering the shelter was needed. TNR was successfully piloted in 2007 and 2008 and the official program was launched in the fall of 2008. Since then, 1,800 feral cats have been trapped, neutered, vaccinated and returned to “managed colonies” in the community. More than 330 citizens have participated in the shelter’s program.

            “Trap, neuter and return works. It is a humane solution and we are thrilled that in such a short time the TNR program is showing significant results in Fairfax County,” says Fairfax County Animal Shelter Director Dr. Karen Diviney. “With the help of citizen trappers, we are able to spay or neuter these cats before they contribute to our community’s homeless cat population. TNR is saving lives in Fairfax County.”

            For more information about the shelter’s trap, neuter and return program, call the Fairfax County Animal Shelter at 703-830-1100.

kittens         neonatal

Litter of feral offspring taken to Animal Shelter.                             "Pediatric kitten"; under 24 hours old and too young to be adopted



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