In 2021, about 109,479 cats were held in the custody of all reporting animal welfare agencies in Virginia, as reported by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Nearly 10% or 10,694 of those cats in custody were euthanized.
The data cannot tell us why there were euthanized, but one of the major reasons that TNVR/TNR programs exist is to humanely control populations of community cats. The goal is to prevent the euthanasia of healthy animals by shelters/rescues due to a lack of space and/or resources.
TNVR or TNR is comprised of a few, simple steps. Step one involves trapping the cat. If anyone knows how skittish community cats can be, this can be the most difficult step. Once the cat is trapped, the cat is taken to a licensed veterinarian to be sterilized through spay or neutering and vaccinated. Spaying and neutering have the added benefits of reducing spraying and some aggressive behaviors in cats. This is also where a cat may be ear-tipped if returning back to the community. Finally, the cat is released back to the community they were found and familiar with.
Have you ever noticed a cat with part of their ear missing? In this photo of beautiful, adoptable Shurbert, notice that he has this unique feature, which is called ear-tipping. This is the result of a veterinary procedure where part of the ear is surgically removed under anesthesia when the cat was spayed or neutered (or surgically sterilized). This is typically done when a community cat needs to be returned to the street after being trapped, spayed/neutered, and sometimes vaccinated. The process of trapping, neutering, vaccinating, and returning the cat to the community is commonly referred to as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) or Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR).