In communities where a trip to the shelter is still likely to prove fatal, however, community cat programs (reliant upon TNR) provide the best possible outcome for the vast majority of cats. It's clear from our experience, and that of others involved with such programs, that most outdoor cats are thriving in their environment.
TNR is, like so many other aspects of the animal welfare movement, a compromise. In most instances, though, it's the best option we've got.
[1.] Nutter, F.B., Evaluation of a Trap-Neuter-Return Management Program for Feral Cat Colonies: Population Dynamics, Home Ranges, and Potentially Zoonotic Diseases, in Comparative Biomedical Department2005, North Carolina State University: Raleigh, NC. p. 224.
[2.] Donlan, A.E., North Shore cat-lovers go... Where the wild things are, in Boston Herald1996: Boston, MA.