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The ABC's of TNR

Trap, Neuter, Return

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

TRAP NEUTER RETURN (TNR) is the humane trapping of feral cats to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and medically treated by veterinarians. Once treatment is complete, adult feral cats are typically returned to their colony. If kittens are young enough, they can be placed into a foster or adoption program, decreasing the number of cats living on the streets.


Research has shown that TNR helps to gradually reduce feral cat colony size over time and helps feral cats to live healthier lives. As a result, TNR helps feral cats be better neighbors to the humans and wildlife around them. Ensuring these cats are vaccinated helps community cats avoid diseases that are a public health concern, such as rabies.


Bringing cats into HSSA’s TNR program takes a lot of patience and dedication. Clara Lee Arnold, HSSA’s first TNR Specialist and Community Cat Coordinator, works odd hours often over the weekend and late in the evening. Some days she finds herself hanging out by smelly garbage cans. Other days she crawls into places that leave her covered in dirt and grease.

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Clara Lee has been instrumental in helping HSSA perform outreach to underserved areas, helping folks in need of feral colony support. Her skill, knowledge and experience have been vital to the increase in numbers of feral cats the HSSA Clinic has been able to help.

TNR Clara Lee

This success has led to the inauguration of a Community Cat Coalition and the creation of a Community Cat Center — with two full-time staff — later in 2021. This program is aiming to make sure no kittens are unwanted in Southern Arizona by 2025. To learn more about HSSA’s TNR program and to make a donation to help us continue this vital community work click here.

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