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Trap, Neuter and Return Feral Cat Program

Trap, Neuter, Return Program a Success

This season has brought hope and success for those of us hard at work to change how communities treat cats. We are happy to report on the progress of our Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) Program. Because of the hard work and dedication of the folks with Superior Street Cats, almost 200 cats have been successfully trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and returned to their colonies within the City. All cats have winter shelter and are thriving. They continue to be fed and cared for by colony caretakers. The program has gone better than expected. We have seen a 48% decrease in the number of cats into our shelter and a 41% decrease in cat euthanasia. Those are impressive stats, but there's still a lot that remains to be done. We can't do it without you!

As 2016 comes to a close, we're laying the groundwork to save more cats' lives in 2017. All of the funding to run our TNR program comes from donations - not tax dollars. There's so much we want to accomplish, but we can't do it without your support.

The process is intensive and requires the help of many volunteers. Colonies must be identified first. Residents of Thunder Bay are encouraged to notify Superior Street Cats at when they believe they have observed one. The colonies will be investigated and if approved, the cats will be trapped, transported, vaccinated, spayed/neutered and ear tipped/tattooed for identification, and returned to the location where they were initially trapped.

This tremendous effort benefits all: the cats, the community and the environment. Free roaming/feral cats are not adoptable; they must live out their lives with the survival skills they have learned. Once these cats have been TNR'd, trained volunteer caretakers will continue to feed and monitor the colonies for additional cats and health issues.

Many volunteers are needed to help Animal Services and Superior Street Cats achieve its goal. Volunteers are needed to help in identifying colonies, trapping and transporting cats, feeding and caring for cats and creating awareness about this wonderful initiative.

For more information and to find out how you can volunteer, please contact

 City of Thunder Bay Animal Services & Superior Street Cats 

Superior Street Cats pamphlet
Examples in other municipalities

TNR diagram

Program Details & Facts

Utilizing community volunteers, stray and feral cats will be trapped and taken to a veterinarian clinic where they will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped for identification. They will be returned to their colony where caretakers will continue to provide them with food, water and shelter and monitor their progress. The current method of trapping and removing cats is not effective. When cats are moved from a location, new cats move in or survivors breed to capacity, creating a vacuum effect.

TNR is:

  • A humane and effective way to reduce the population of stray and feral cats
  • Proven effective in other Ontario municipalities such as Toronto, London, Windsor and Chatham-Kent and is popular worldwide

TNR will:

  • Reduce the number of free-roaming cats in Thunder Bay and ultimately the number of cats impounded and euthanized by Animal Services
  • Save money; TNR costs less than sheltering and euthanizing cats and the program will be run solely on donation and grant money
  • Drastically reduce nuisance behaviours associated with unaltered cats 
  • Increase volunteerism and community goodwill 
  • Improve the health of the cats

Did you know?

  • Over 1300 cats were brought into Thunder Bay Animal Services in 2014, and over 800 were euthanized
  • Two uncontrolled breeding cats can create the following:
  • Two litters a year, at a survival rate of 2.8 kittens per litter with continued breeding:   
    • 12 cats the first year 
    • 66 cats the second year
    • 2,201 cats in the third year
    • 3,822 cats in the fourth year
    • 12,680 cats in the fifth year, etc.

Interested in becoming a volunteer for this program?

Email: or call 684-2156 (Animal Services). Donations to the program will also be accepted.