TNR with a Side of Adoption and Outreach to Reduce Outdoor Cat Populations

All three kittens came out at the same time.
All three kittens came out at the same time.

Four years ago this week I responded to a request to help find a friendly outdoor mom cat and the four-week-old kittens she had moved. Following Charm, finding her kittens, and helping sort out the entire situation of three abandoned unspayed female cats and their kittens and other cats in the neighborhood became a case study of multiple situations in one TNR project in one neighborhood that I’ve used to explain TNR to individuals and officials. Working holistically in a neighborhood is one of the ways to make TNR successful in not only stabilizing an outdoor cat population but reducing it as proved in several studies and in practice, by removing all kittens and friendly cats and also enlisting the help and support of the cat caretakers and neighbors already in place.

The next weeks and months involved meeting neighbors as we searched for kittens and ultimately any other cat in need in the neighborhood, fostering and vetting kittens for adoption, safely surrendering friendly adult cats to shelters, providing TNR to feral cats and giving low-cost spay/neuter information to neighbors and helping them with behavior problems that caused them to abandon or keep their cats outdoors, and assessing what else we could do for cats, resolving each one with the best outcome of each cat in mind.

The editor prefers articles with personal experience, so in this article I used the TNR/rescue/foster experience from 2015 involving Charm and her kittens and the nine other cats involved in that area. I linked some very interesting studies as well.

“In all seven adult cats were spayed or neutered, the three abandoned females and three owned males and one feral, and eight kittens were rescued and fostered. With fostering through our rescue and working with shelters, 10 cats out of 15 were not returned, and two owned males were not returned to roaming, leaving two cats of 15 out on the streets. Being able to foster and adopt is essential to reducing the populations of a colony with TNR.”

Please visit Pet Radio Magazine and read the article, and please share too. I love rescuing cats, but I also love sharing encouragement and techniques that others can realistically use to rescue cats in their turn and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets, the only way we will ever stop the overpopulation and killing.

Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.

There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.

  • Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
  • Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
  • Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
  • Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
  • Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.

If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.

Need to know more? Read Fostering for Your Shelter and Fostering Saves Lives

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Art With Donation from Portraits of Animals!

marker illustration of 63 cats
“The TNR Story”, 8″ x 14″, Sharpie markers © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This award-winning art was inspired by working in post op at the May 25, 2014 Homeless Cat Management Team TNR clinic. I’ll make a $5.00 donation to HCMT for each poster sold to help spay and neuter more cats so there won’t be so many to rescue. Quantity discounts are available if you want a stack for a clinic or event. Read more about this artwork and purchase a print of this sketch.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

3 thoughts on “TNR with a Side of Adoption and Outreach to Reduce Outdoor Cat Populations

  • Pingback: Celebrating World Spay Day: Getting to the Spay, and Results ~ The Creative Cat

  • April 26, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Folks don’t understand until TNR is explained, and shown how it benefits humans too! So far, no one has asked me what I was doing, and because TNR technically is against city ordinances, we keep everything on the downlow. I’ve found a few other TNRers in my neighborhood, however, just by observing and striking up conversations, so cats are being cared for despite stoopey city hall.

    • May 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      We have a feeding ban in my town, but when I do TNR I have an advantage in knowing the borough manager and letting him know what I’m doing, and he passes that along to the police so that I don’t get arrested for walking around in someone’s back yard with a flashlight in the middle of the night. I find when I go in to help with a colony, just about everyone ends up happy with the plan and the outcome, and they rarely complain and often help. Not always, but most of the time.


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