Trap-Neuter-Return Program

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs are used across the country to help address feral cat populations.  A TNR program is a safe, effective and humane method to not just reduce feral cat populations but to help improve quality of life for those populations.  Feral cat populations can spread rabies and unchecked pregnancies can lead to higher numbers of cats in the colony.  TNR programs are successful because local governments, volunteers and veterinarians come together and work as a team to help address this ever growing problem in the community. 

Quick Facts:

    If cats are removed from their territory and killed, it creates a vacuum effect.  Cats will move into the vacant territory and take advantage of the food and shelter.  The reproduction process begins anew and the colony can quickly return to its size or even larger

    The phenomenon known as the vacuum effect has been observed in many species not just cats such as foxes, mice, coyotes, possums etc. 

    Catching and killing cats is a futile expensive method with no long term positive benefits

    TNR programs are humane and an effective approach at addressing the feral cat populations in the community. 

    Returning cats to the same colony, spayed or neutered, will prevent other cats from moving in. It helps reduce pregnancies and over time the colony will naturally decrease.  Photo of a spotted feral cat walking in the road

    One of the main goals is to prevent pregnancies.  A typical litter of kittens is 4.  At 16 weeks old, those cats can become pregnant and have even more kittens.  It is possible a litter of 4 kittens can reproduce and become well over 60 cats over the course of a year.  If left unchecked, feral cat populations can become very large and lead to potential health problems for the cats, residents in the community and their pets. 

    Cats provide a natural form of rodent control.  Returning the cats will allow this to continue

    TNR programs also provide an avenue to remove sick or injured cars from the colony. Concerned residents no longer have to watch hungry, sick or dying cats in their neighborhood

    Once cats are fixed, fighting, yowling and other noise associated with mating can reduce substantially.  

    The foul odor caused by unaltered male spraying to mark their territory can be reduced. 

We are actively working with Misplaced Mutts out of Carteret County for rescue of animals and with our new TNR program.  Please, consider making a donation to Misplaced Mutts to help them with their mission.

If you are an organization that is interested in helping further our TNR program, please contact me, Police Chief Christopher Morning at 252-463-7101 or email at

Each group or person wishing to participate in TNR must register.  Please, contact Animal Control Officer, Jessica Jordan to obtain the form and to discuss our TNR ordinance. 

Trap-Neuter-Return Program Flyer (PDF) 

Havelock Feral Cat Colony Map (LINK)

The above link will show a map of the TNR operations in the city.  As our TNR program moves forward, we will continue to update this map.  This map may or may not change on a monthly basis.  The red dots indicate an area has been identified.  A yellow dot indicates the TNR process is in progress with some TNR complete.  The green dot indicates the area is completed.  If you have any questions please contact our Animal Control Officer at 252-447-2712.