Assessment of a Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return Pilot Study in Auckland, New Zealand

Animals (Basel). 2018 May 13;8(5):73. doi: 10.3390/ani8050073.


There is a need for effective and humane management tools to manage urban stray cats and minimise negative impacts associated with stray cats. One such tool is targeted trap-neuter-return (TTNR), but no concerted implementation of this technique or formal assessments have been reported. To address this deficit, a TTNR programme was implemented and assessed in one Auckland suburb from May 2015 to June 2016; the programme sterilised and returned 348 cats (4.2 cats/1000 residents). Assessment was based on the number of incoming felines; stray, unsocialised cats euthanased; unsocialised, unowned cats sterilised and returned (independently of the TTNR programme); and neonatal/underage euthanasias. Incoming stray felines, underage euthanasias, and unsocialised stray cat euthanasias were all reduced for the targeted suburb when compared for the years before and after the programme (the percentage reduction in these parameters was &minus;39, &minus;17, &minus;34, &minus;7, and &minus;47, respectively). These outcome measures had a greater reduction in the targeted suburb compared to the Auckland suburbs not targeted by the TTNR programme (p < 0.01), although causation cannot be inferred, as a variety of reasons could have contributed to the changes. This pilot programme suggests that TTNR could be a valuable, humane cat management tool in urban New Zealand, and further assessment is warranted.

Keywords: animal welfare: shelter intake; cat management; semi-owned cats; shelter euthanasia; shelter medicine; stray cats; targeted trap-neuter-return; trap-neuter-return (TNR); unwanted cats.