Trap-Neuter-Return is best feral cat policy

June 11, 2014

Public Forum:

Maryann Ostrenga's concerns regarding the Wauwatosa feral cat population (May 29 Public Forum letter) can be eased with three letters: TNR.

Community/feral cats produce the majority of kittens turned in to animal control facilities like the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission. For decades, trap-and-kill has been the method of choice by animal control to reduce community/feral cat populations. This method is costly to taxpayers and has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective.

Municipalities around the country have embraced a non-lethal approach — Trap-Neuter-Return. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped, evaluated by a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped (so someone finding the cat knows it has been spayed/neutered/evaluated), and returned to the habitat where they were originally trapped

Milwaukee County currently has no program in place to humanely reduce the community/feral cat population. TNR — using volunteers and available grant funding — improves public health, decreases nuisance complaints and stabilizes/reduces the number of feral cats and kittens.

As a Wauwatosa resident, I want the same things Ms. Ostrenga does. However, mass killing of community cats leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

A sensible TNR policy is good fiscal and ethical policy. Contact your local representative and ask them to enact TNR legislation.

Alley Cat Allies ( and The Humane Society of the United States ( have a lot of information on the benefits of TNR. On a local level, the Wisconsin Cat Project ( is seeking volunteers in all 19 Milwaukee County municipalities to help implement TNR. Contact them at to get started.

Lisa Frymark



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