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TNR Program

Highlands & Monmouth County SPCA Community Cats TNR Program

2021 TNR Annual Report

2020 TNR Annual Report

Phone: 732-542-0040, at the prompt choose option 8 for a TNR Animal Control Officer
MSCPA Website:

The Borough of Highlands and the MCSPCA have teamed up to find a humane solution to our feral cat issues. If you want to be a Community Cat Caregiver, you must fill in the Registration form and Single Colony Log form to the left and bring to the Borough Offices.  Once your application has been approved by both the town and MCSPCA, you may begin to care for community cats.

The MCSPCA has taken a leadership role in implementing a program proven to succeed – Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in Highlands. TNR specifically addresses the burgeoning feral cat population in a humane way. Feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, and returned to the community to live in managed colonies. Kittens and “friendly” stray cats are put up for adoption at the MCSPCA, immediately reducing the population of ferals in the community. Grant funding and donations support the program and significantly reduces the cost to the municipality.

We understand that TNR is controversial. Many think the Trap-Remove, which really means Trap-Kill, is the only solution to feral cats. However, Trap-Kill has been proven NOT to work, while TNR does.

  1. The Borough of Highlands TNR program is funded by the donation from a generous resident and the MCSPCA.  The cost of the initiative to 100% funded by those two sources at no cost to the taxpayers for up to 100 cats per calendar year.
  2. There are not enough animal control resources to trap all cats in a municipality. A female cat can start having litters at 4 months old and can have four litters in one year. One mating pair can regenerate the population very quickly. With the animal control resources available, it is impossible to trap every feral cat in a short enough time span to keep up with reproduction. TNR uses teams of local volunteers to humanely trap, transport and then care for the feral cats. More people are willing to help with TNR than Trap-kill.
  3. With TNR, the cats are released into managed colonies with registered caregivers who are the onlypeople allowed to feed feral cats. This stops late night “drive by” feeding by well-meaning people. The caregivers keep careful statistics on the population and most importantly, track the success of TNR.

Many people want to take their own measures to remove cats from their neighborhood. Once any of the cats go through the TNR program, they are identified as being owned by the Borough of Highlands and cared for by the Colony Caretakers. Also note, according to NJSA 4:22-20. Abandoning disabled animal to die in public place; abandoning domesticated animal; disorderly person’s offense:

  1. A person who shall abandon a maimed, sick, infirm or disabled animal or creature to die in a public place, shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense.
  2. A person who shall abandon a domesticated animal shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense. The violator shall be subject to the maximum $1,000 penalty.

There are many myths out there about feral cats. The biggest one is Feral cats cannot be “rehabilitated”, this is NOT true. There is no farm or sanctuary that can take all the feral cats in Monmouth County.

Advantages of TNR

  1. Population is immediately reduced via adoption of kittens and “friendlies”
  2. Spayed/Neutered cats roam less, don’t yowl or fight (typical mating behaviors)
  3. Neutered male cats mark less often and with significantly less odor
  4. Disease is reduced since the cats get vaccinated (rabies etc)
  5. Fewer nuisance calls about feral cats

TNR is an effective and humane way to control feral cats. TNR works because it is a multi-tiered approach as described above. The fact is these cats are out there. TNR means they are not reproducing, are disease-free, are fed and cared for and cause less trouble in the municipality. Using TNR we stabilize the population, so the colonies reduce through natural attrition. Together we can reach our goal to significantly decrease the feral cat population in Highlands over the next five years with our Community Cats Campaign.

Please support our TNR initiative!