Operation Catnip Stillwater employs "trap-neuter-return," or TNR, as a strategy for these situations. TNR programs humanely catch cats in cage-like traps, spay females and neuter males, and often provide other care. OCS administers rabies vaccinations, flea control, pain medication, and provides other surgery as needed, like wound repair. After an overnight recovery in a safe place, cats are returned to their original locations. TNR cats are now free to live their lives without producing more cats. They also show reduced aggression, which lowers the chance that diseases will be transferred from cat-to-cat, or from cat-to-person. TNR creates happier and healthier cats, communities and environments.
It is easy to think that trapping and removing cats would do a better job of controlling populations than TNR, but this ends up not being the case. Cats have populated niches in our environments, and when we remove them, we create openings in these niches. The only animals in these environments that breed fast enough to fill these voids are cats, so the remaining cats in these areas just have more kittens to fill the space. It's hard to trap them fast enough to keep up. However, when we release spayed and neutered cats back into the environment, they keep niches full, lower breeding rates, and create a calmer, less-aggressive colony atmosphere. The results may be revealed slower, but TNR is a more permanently effective approach to lowering cat populations in colonized areas.