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Albuquerque VetCo

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Ask Vet-Co: Why Trap-Neuter-Return?

Trap Neuter Release programDear Vet-Co,

What is the point of a Trap-Neuter-Return program?  I see people talking about doing that and not sure on the benefit. I know you help the Best Friends Animal Society with their catch and release feral cat program. Can you please tell me why this should be done? Also, what is ear tipping? And what is the difference between a feral and a stray cat?


Caught and Confused


Dear Caught and Confused,

Trap-Neuter-Return is the best, and most humane, way to control the feral cat population. It is also the most effective method to assist with feral cat population control.

  1. It helps to permanently reduce the feral cat population by preventing breeding
  2. It reduces the number of cats in shelters and thereby lowering euthanasia rates
  3. It reduces the spread of disease
  4. Cats are territorial, so a spayed/neutered cat will protect its area and prevent un-neutered cats from moving in and restarting the cycle of repopulation

What is the difference between a stray and a feral cat?

A stray cat is a cat who is homeless but has been socialized to people. These are often missing pets. Stray cats are best to be picked up by shelters so they can find new homes.

A feral cat has never been socialized. They were never owned by people. They are often fearful of people and can be aggressive. They do not adapt well to a family environment and are not likely to be adopted if picked up by a shelter.

What is ear tipping?

This is the universal sign of a neutered feral cat. The procedure involves removing about 1/4” off the tip of the cats ear while they are under anesthetic. The healing process is very fast. This mark can help prevent the cat from being picked up again and going through any unnecessary surgery.
If you have a questions you would like us to answer, just email us! You can also come into Vet-Co Los Lunas or Vet-Co Menaul.

Albuquerque Vet-Co
8200 Menaul Blvd NE #R
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Phone: (505) 292-3030

Valencia Vet-Co, Los Lunas
2510 Main St. NE #1
Los Lunas, NM

Phone: (505) 865-0662