Save Feral Cats From Unnecessary Euthanasia

The cat is playing with a kitten on the green grass

Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Goal: Ensure that Trap, Neuter, and Release programs are covered under the Animal Welfare Act.

Feline experts estimate that there are nearly 70 million feral cats in the United States. These cats produce nearly 147 million unwanted kittens annually. Because they are seen as a nuisance, feral kittens and cats are typically killed. However, this does not control the population. Spaying and neutering these free-roaming cats will safely maintain the population and increase their health.

“Free-roaming” is the preferred term for the outdoor-living cat population as it includes cats that are feral, lost, abandoned, and stray. Any adult, unaltered cat who lives outside will reproduce and contribute to the homeless cat problem. Unaltered cats contribute to the numbers of unadopted cats and kittens that are euthanized every day in shelters. With every cat that is spayed or neutered, the total potential population of cats decreases and there are fewer cats that go unadopted. Lives are saved through prevention.

The health of free-roaming cats improves after spaying or neutering. Female cats are no longer forced to feed kittens. Male cats fight less for breeding territory. Mammary and uterine infections are significantly reduced as well. Free-roaming cats are not suffering. They merely avoid people, fight off predators, find food, locate shelter on their own, and are far more likely to die from natural causes, similar to other wildlife. The vast majority of free-roaming cats are in good medical health.

Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) programs are humane methods to safely and effectively reduce free-roaming cat populations. TNR programs trap all the cats in a free-roaming colony. They are neutered and then returned to their territory where caretakers usually provide them with food and shelter. Young kittens and friendly adult cats are placed in foster care and adopted out to good homes. TNR immediately stabilizes the size of a free-roaming cat colony, halting the problem of overpopulation. This leads to fewer cats flowing into shelters and fewer euthanized cats. This also leads to increased adoption rates for cats already in shelters. The cost of spaying or neutering is less than the cost to properly care for a cat for a year.

There are many benefits to having free-roaming cat populations. In urban areas, the rodent population is effectively controlled with free-roaming cats. TNR effectively manages cat colony populations. TNR is an effective and humane program and should be mandated as part of the Animal Welfare Act. By signing this petition, you will urge USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to adopt Trap, Neuter, and Release programs to control free-roaming cat populations. Please neuter, not euthanize, to save a life.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

There are nearly 70 million free-roaming cats in the United States today. More than 1.4 million cats in shelters are euthanized annually. This is a cruel and inhumane statistic and speaks volumes about how callous we have become to murder.

Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) programs are an effective method that should be utilized to help control and decrease the free-roaming cat population. Young kittens and friendly adult cats that are captured are placed in foster care and adopted out to good homes. Cats that are not adoptable are returned to their territory where they can live healthy and contented lives, usually dying from natural causes and not euthanasia.

The Animal Welfare Act requires minimum standards of care and treatment for animals. TNR programs are the minimum care we should be providing for free-roaming cat populations in the United States. The United Kingdom has been successfully practicing TNR for decades and we should follow suit. We, the undersigned, urge you to mandate that TNR programs be implemented by all animal care providers as part of the Animal Welfare Act. Please save a life and support TNR program. Neuter, not euthanize, to save a life.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Olga Volodina

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  1. Natasha polychuk says:

    stop killing animals!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. The first thing humans think of when wanting to control another species is ‘KILL IT’. Wow!!! How intelligent!
    Try trap, neuter, spay. No killing involved.

  3. Kae Blecha, OTR says:

    Generally Vilsack is useless unless he’s asked to appear at a 4-H ribbon-cutting event, but maybe he can handle this bit of paperwork. I’m not holding my breath.

  4. Catherine Dugan says:

    This is a very inhumane way to handle this problem. Don’t kill the animal, help save it. Spay/nurture the cats when they’re kittens. Save the cat population, don’t kill them.

  5. NO to destroying these FERAL CATS…perhaps some serious consideration should be to the” over population” of humans destroying our ANIMALS!!!

  6. Cats are NOT a nuisance to others, & they have all been Trap-Neutered-&-Returned to live out their lives happily & comfortably — Trap and Kill/Euthanize does NOT work as it creates a vacuum effect & once the cats are gone, new cats will just take over the site — this turn-over will never stop — it has been proven time & again — Trapping & killing these cats is a complete waste of time AND tax payer dollars —- dollars that could fund a TNR program — a positive & proven-effective solution —- Keep in mind that killing cats is cruel, unconscionable, merciless, callous & the WRONG THING TO DO.

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