Trap Neuter Return (TNR) Program

PawsCo, along with several animal welfare community organizations, is part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program to help combat the feral cat overpopulation in Denver.

How You Can Help Community Cats

Cats in your community are often feral cats. The difference between pet cats and feral cats is that ferals have had little or no contact with humans, are fearful of people and cannot be adopted. They have a home: the outdoors. The way you can help community cats is through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).

TNR is the only method proven to be humane and effective at controlling feral cat population growth. By using TNR, the feral cats in a colony are trapped, neutered and then returned to their territory where caretakers provide them with regular food and shelter. This program ends reproduction, stabilizes feral cat populations, improves individual cats’ lives, and saves more shelter cats that are unsocial.

TNR Quick Facts

  • If you stop feeding them, feral cats will not go away. They will simply look for another food source.
  • Simply removing feral cats isn’t the solution. New cats move in or survivors breed to capacity.
  • Feral cats help control the rodent population; however, they do not cause wildlife depletion.
  • Colony sizes decrease over time by an average of about 66%.
  • Behaviors and stresses associated with mating— pregnancy, yowling, spraying and fighting—stop, which are the major complaints from people.
  • Young kittens who can still be socialized, as well as friendly adults, are placed in foster care and eventually adopted out to good homes.

Tip to Keep Feral Cats off Your Property

  • Keep tight lids on your trash cans.
  • Physically block or seal the location where cats are entering with chicken wire or lattice.
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging.
  • Scatter fragrances that deter cats: fresh orange and lemon peels, coffee grounds, vinegar, and scented oil (lavender, lemongrass, citronella or eucalyptus).

What to Do If You Find Feral Cats

  • For trapping assistance or other questions regarding feral cats or kittens, contact 1-844-DEN-CATS or visit
  • If a feral cat has a tipped ear, do not trap it. That is a marker the cat has already been spay/neutered.
  • If you find a litter of kittens, do not bring them to the shelter. Contact 1-844-DEN-CATS for assistance so the mother and kittens can be trapped together.
  • All trapped cats brought to Denver Animal Shelter must have an address of where they came from so that we are certain they are returned to a food source.