Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a program through which free-roaming cats (not belonging to particular humans) are humanely trapped; sterilized and medically treated; and returned to the outdoor locations where they were found. If those locations are deemed unsafe or otherwise inappropriate, feral cats (unsocialized to humans) are relocated to farmyard homes. Kittens still young enough to be socialized and friendly adult cats are typically placed in foster care for eventual adoption into homes as companion animals rather than returned to the outdoors. Cats found suffering with terminal or untreatable illnesses or injuries are humanely euthanized.
“Community cats” are typically cats born in the wild or semi-owned cats, comprised of both strays (lost and abandoned former pets who may be suitable for home environments) and feral (extremely fearful of people and not always welcoming of human touch/attention, making them unsuitable for home environments-AKA, household pets), who are the offspring of other feral or stray cats.
Some community cats can be considered loosely owned, meaning that concerned residents feed them and may provide some form of shelter in their own homes or on their own property, but do not always identify the cats as their own personal pets. Some individuals become feral cat colony caregivers and go above and beyond to care for these animals and their well-being and safety. They call these cats theirs and identify as their family and keepers. These animals and colonies have a long history that date back to early European and Puritan Settlers. They deserve our respect and our protection.