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The main goal of a TNR program is the reduction of the feral cat population; other goals may include but are not limited to increased adoption rates, increased cat health, increased cat quality of life, and improved human-cat interactions.

Hammond "fought many battles with local authorities, hospitals, environmental health departments" but stated that she succeeded over the years in showing that control "could be achieved by neutering and not killing". The symposium was considered a "watershed occurrence" where attitudes toward feral cats began to shift toward humane treatment.

This practice is no longer recommended, due to problems such as unreliable results, the high cost of testing, and the low incidence of the viruses.

TNR is endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as "the most humane, effective and financially sustainable strategy for controlling free-roaming cat populations" The Humane Society of the United States has also endorsed "community-based Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs with on-going responsible management as the most viable, long-term approach available at this time to reduce feral cat populations".

Since 1988, killing feral cats has been illegal in the Latium Region, which includes Rome.

Since August 1991, feral cats have been protected throughout Italy when a no kill policy was introduced for both cats and dogs.The first trigger for a trap-neuter-return program is when free-roaming cats or kittens are seen in need and/or not having been neutered.A TNR program approaches the situation using the following recommended steps: Early in TNR work, some groups did routine testing for the feline leukemia virus (Fe LV) and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) prior to the neutering surgery.Please read the layout guide and lead section guidelines to ensure the section will still be inclusive of all essential details.Please discuss this issue on the article's talk page.Allie Phillips, director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse, states that stray and feral cats are often seen as unsympathetic, and less worthy of the legal protection which she believes they merit.