Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a humane and effective method for managing outdoor cat populations. The process involves trapping feral or free-roaming cats, sterilizing them, and then returning them to their original location. While sterilization is crucial in curbing population growth, successful TNR programs require more than just the surgical aspect. Vetting is essential for addressing health concerns and ensuring the overall well-being of the cats. Moreover, colony care, including regular feeding and monitoring, is vital for their survival. Outdoor cats, often considered an invasive species, pose a threat to local wildlife and natural habitats. TNR provides a humane and long-lasting solution to these problems. The root cause of burgeoning outdoor cat populations lies in the abandonment of domestic cats. TNR alone is insufficient; efforts must extend to preventing cat abandonment to truly mitigate the issue. Research supports TNR as an effective means of population management, emphasizing its role in reducing cat overpopulation and associated problems. However, several challenges hinder the effectiveness of TNR programs. Inadequate funding, a national shortage of veterinarians, and legal restrictions against TNR initiatives can impede progress. Addressing these issues is imperative for the sustained success of TNR as a humane and ethical approach to outdoor cat population control.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 11-27-2023


Dr. Erik Liddell

Mentor Department Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences