Promoting a humane alternative to euthanasia for managing and reducing feral cat and dog populations. TNR relies on sterilization of the cats or dogs so that they don’t breed. Trap-Neuter-Return begins with the trapping of feral animals using humane cage traps. The captured ferals are taken (in the trap) to a vet clinic where they are sterilized by the castration of males and spaying of females.

Typical TNR programs also involve providing the animal vaccinations against certain diseases like rabies, feline panleukopenia, herpes, and calicivirus. Finally they are marked so that they can be easily identified as a sterilized feral, usually by cropping the pointed end of the ear so that it has a square appearance (known as ear tipping) or cutting a notch at the tip or on the side of the ear.