Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) of Feral Cats in NYC

Feral and free-roaming cats contribute to cat overpopulation in New York City and can create public nuisances and the potential to spread illness, particularly from rabies transmitted from native species like raccoons.

To reduce the number of feral and free roaming cats, local law requires cat owners to spay or neuter their cat if the cat is permitted to roam outdoors.

In trap, neuter, return (TNR), a feral cat is trapped, sterilized, vaccinated for rabies, and returned to the place where it was found. Sterilizing the cats halts reproduction and mating-related nuisance behaviors. TNR programs may also remove stray cats (lost or abandoned pets) and young kittens from the cat colony and place them in foster care or adopted homes. The Health Department neither prohibits nor specifically endorses TNR as a practice, nor the groups that are involved with TNR.

TNR Organizations in NYC

Organizations that offer TNR information and facilitate TNR activities with feral and free roaming cats in New York City include:

Any organization that provides TNR information and conducts TNR activities in New York City may be included on this list. To have your organization added, please email

In your email please confirm that the organization provides information about TNR and conducts TNR activities with feral cats in New York City. Please also provide contact information for an organization representative.

Effective TNR programs may be helpful in reducing the size of feral and free roaming cat colonies, if they meet certain criteria, such as:

  • Organizations conducting or sponsoring TNR programs have adequate resources to maintain basic operations, and to dedicate resources to site-specific TNR for several years.
  • There is widespread, site-specific community support for TNR.
  • Volunteers and/or paid staff are properly trained and are both skilled and committed.
  • TNR programs avoid creating or contributing to animal odor and waste nuisances and excessive numbers of animals that may keep people from enjoying their own homes, yards and public spaces.
  • Sites where TNR activities are conducted do not have endangered or threatened prey species and do not subject cats to possible harm or abuse.

The Department does not endorse, inspect, regulate, monitor or oversee any organizations listed or not listed on this website that conduct TNR activities.

Stay Safe

Physical contact with feral cats can pose a health risk, and TNR practitioners should follow best practices to reduce the risk of being scratched or bitten by a feral cat or being exposed to its saliva or feces.

Anyone scratched or bitten by a feral cat should contact a health care provider immediately. Report animal bites to the NYC Health Department’s Animal Bite Unit by calling 311 or reporting online.