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Becky Robinson: How shelter leaders can support TNR programs

Guest: Becky Robison, President and Founder of Alley Cat Allies. Becky founded Alley Cat Allies in 1990 and has since played a leading role in the growth of Trap-Neuter-Return into the mainstream approach for outdoor cats. Her book, “The Evolution of the Cat Revolution,” documents 25 years of pioneering efforts to revolutionize the way cats are treated in the United States. 

Main question: What do shelter leaders need to know and do to support their TNR programs?


  • Be confident in your organization’s support of TNR. Don’t apologize for it – it is the most effective and humane way to stabilize and manage outdoor cat populations. It’s the right thing to do by the cats, and communities at large overwhelmingly prefer it to killing cats. 

  • TNR’s effectiveness has been proven -  it works because removing cats merely allows new cats to move into the same area. Your organization may even have data showing its benefits in your own community and/or data showing that previous trap-kill programs did not work.

  • People are contacting your organization about this issue because you are the animal welfare or cat experts in your community. Create a script for training new staff and to ensure consistent messaging. 

  • When someone calls to express concern about TNR, ask questions to understand why they are calling – some people will be concerned about the welfare of the cats and need reassurance. Others will have a specific issue you can address with specific advice that will minimize or eliminate their specific issue.

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  • Your organization shouldn’t loan out traps to people who use them to remove cats.

  • When doing TNR in a specific neighborhood, you may want to use doorhangers to communicate with local residents about trapping plans. You can buy pre-made TNR door hangers and find many free resources you can print yourself at


Recorded Dec. 10, 2020

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