Toronto Feral Cats

Euthanasia due to homelessness is the largest cause of death in cats.

Estimates place the number of homeless cats in Toronto at between 20,000 and 100,000.

Assuming a pair of cats are left to breed at will, they have two litters per year and 2.8 surviving kittens per litter, the result is a staggering 80 million cats. Source: American Humane Association

First year

Second year

Third year

Fourth year

Fifth year

Sixth year

Seventh year

Eight year

Ninth year

Tenth year











Trap Neuter Return

Trap Neuter Return (TNR) programs are proven to be the only humane and effective way to manage feral cat overpopulation. TNR involves trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating, ear tipping and returning cats to their colony – kittens and socialized cats are adopted and a caretaker feeds and monitors the colony daily. TNR is proven.

TNR has been practiced for over 20 years in the UK, South Africa and Denmark. After 1-3 years of TNR colony sizes decrease by 16-32% (Natoli 2006). TNR is an effective long term strategy to stabilize or modestly reduce the size of feral cat colonies as well as improve the health of these cats (Levy, 2003)

Trap Neuter Return is supported by:

American Animal Hospital Association
American Association of Feline Practitioners
Humane Society of the United States
American Veterinary Medical Association
American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Association of Shelter Veterinarians
And almost all other major animal welfare organizations including local animal rescue organizations in Toronto

Toronto Humane Society provides access to free TNR for feral cats through our Spay Neuter Services.

Toronto Humane Society is a proud member of the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition. The Toronto Feral Cat Coalition includes:

Feral Cat Winter Shelters

Toronto Humane Society works with Toronto Street Cats to build winter shelters for feral cats. To date more than 2,000 over wintering shelters have been built.

Visit https://torontostreetcats.com/diy/ for more information.

How to Manage a Feral Cat Colony Course

In order to access free TNR surgeries through the Toronto Humane Society Spay/Neuter Services, you must have taken the Trap Neuter Return Certification Course.

For more information on Trap Neuter Return Certification Course dates and locations please visit Community Cats Toronto.

Barn Program

Some cats have a really hard time in the shelter – unsocialized, they may lash out at anyone who tries to touch them. Being surrounded by people and exposed to strange sounds, sights and smells terrifies them. They’re more stressed, more likely to get sick, and harder to treat.

That’s why Toronto Humane Society has a barn program – it’s the kindest option for unsocialized cats who can’t be handled.

Barn cats are exposed to more risks than house cats; deciding which cats need a barn placement isn’t easy and it’s not a decision we take lightly. Before we place a cat in a barn, we look for other ways to help him/her – including medical and behavioural treatments, return to their original feral cat colony or adoption as outdoor house cats.

Barn Cat Placement Policy

Barn cats must:


  • Be uncomfortable in a conventional home (like feral or hoarded cats)
  • Be stressed in the shelter and/or can’t be handled
  • Have major behavioural issues we can’t resolve

Barn cats must not:

  • Have significant unresolved health concerns
  • Be declawed

We assess the barns to ensure they’ll keep the cats warm and dry, and that people will be there every day to care for them.

As this can be a lot to ask of a barn owner, we also provide support throughout the transition period, including free food and litter, plus ongoing help and advice. Regular updates help us monitor individual cats and the program as a whole.

We’re always looking for new barns, so if you’d like to host a few feral felines please contact gratelle@torontohumanesociety.com.

We know that the need for barn placements exceeds the number of spaces available. However, only Toronto Humane Society cats are eligible for placement in our barn program; we are not responsible for cats placed by independent rescues/individuals at the same/other locations. If you are looking for your own barn placements, these tips may help.