SaveKitty Foundation

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TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return)

Many well-meaning, compassionate people feed stray and feral (shy and unadoptable) cats.  But feeding, by itself, only perpetuates the cat overpopulation problem.  Feeding is most effective when it is done as part of a program of colony management which includes feeding, providing bad-weather shelter for the cats, and performing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

Left: Goldie & Ms. Cali, two members of a Jackson Heights colony, peering through a screen door, waiting for their caretaker to feed them. 
Center: Creamsickle & Graystone, members of the same colony.  
Right: An insulated shelter protects this cat from the cold and rain.

TNR involves humanely trapping a cat, having it spayed or neutered, and then returing it back to its colony.  TNR is considered by experts in the field, and by us, to be the most humane solution to the homeless cat problem. 

Left:  First, the cat is trapped in a humane trap.  (Some cats, like this one, outsmart the trapper and get the food without being trapped.) 
Center:  Caring for the cat before and after the surgery is an important part of TNR. 
Right:  Once the cat has recovered from the surgery, it is returned to its colony.    

Colony management provides many benefits to the cats and to the community:

  • It reduces the number and suffering of starving cats and kittens.
  • Improves the health and lifespan of the cats.
  • Eliminates the problems of cats fighting and howling at night and the odor from unaltered males "spraying" (marking their territory.)
  • Over time, results in a dramatic reduction in the size of the colony through low or zero birth rate and attrition.
  • Provides a natural form of rodent control (it's the smell of the cat that keeps rodents away.)
If you'd like to learn to do TNR, click here.


In the process of doing TNR we come across many friendly stray cats and kittens.  We don't return them to the streets, as we do with feral cats.  Instead, we take them into foster care and commit ourselves to placing them in loving homes.

(Some people believe any feral cat can be turned around eventually and we would love to save them all.  But, in reality we cannot.  So we save the ones we can.)


SaveKitty volunteers rescue animals from the streets, basements, alleyways and abandoned buildings of Queens and other NYC neighborhoods, and from desperate situations, where their lives may be in danger.  Recent rescues include a cat rescued from a subway station in LIC, a cat rescued from the boiler room of a housing project he was locked inside of, 31 cats rescued from a hoarder in Jackson Heights, and a Shih Tzu, rescued from the Bronx after running around for for two weeks trying to get into people's homes.


SaveKitty conducts TNR training classes for members of the community interested in performing TNR in their neighborhoods.  We also provide follow-up advice and coaching.  If you'd like to take a TNR class, click here.


Human beings form deep bonds with their companion animals.  Losing such a companion can be a significant loss, and one that is not always understood by the people around us.  SaveKitty Foundation offers free support groups, run by a licensed mental health professional, for people who have suffered the loss of a pet.  In these groups no one will tell you, "Get over it; it's only a pet".  For more information contact


We have performed TNR on thousands of feral cats, significantly reducing the number of stray and feral cats in New York City.  Each year we:
  • spay/neuter between 500 and 800 cats
  • rescue hundreds of cats and other animals
  • place hundreds of friendly cats, kittens (and the occasional dog) in loving homes.
  • provide food, shelter and care for approximately 250 feral cats on a daily basis.

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