Feral Cat TNR

Feral Cat Trap Neuter Return


Trap–neuter–return (TNR) is a type of program through which free-roaming cats are trapped, spayed and neutered, then returned to the outdoor locations where they were found. If those locations are deemed unsafe or otherwise inappropriate, the cats may be relocated (barn/farmyard homes are often considered ideal). Kittens young enough to be socialized and friendly adult cats may be placed in shelters or foster care for eventual adoption into homes as companion animals rather than returned to the outdoors.

Our TNR Program


  • No income restrictions
  • Feral cats must be brought in a humane live trap
  • All feral cats will be ear-tipped
  • Traps available for loan with a $75.00 deposit. Deposit returned when trap brought back
  • Current price is varies depending on the funding for spay/neuter, rabies vaccine and ear tipping. This price is subject to change due to funding availability
  • Appointment preferred, but is not required. Check in is between 7:30a and 7:45a on Tues/Wed/Thurs.

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:


  1. Assess the cats and their environment. Do they appear to be stray or feral; are there kittens and/or nursing mothers; are there ill or injured cats? Plan ahead for the care to be provided after trapping.
  2. Communicate with neighbours and any caretakers. Build good community relations, working to address the concerns of others.
  3. Establish a regular feeding schedule. This may involve providing feeding stations and winter shelters.
  4. Secure a holding/recovery area where the cats can wait for surgery (if not immediate) and recover after surgery.
  5. Find and coordinate with a veterinarian or clinic to perform the surgery and provide other medical treatment.
  6. Assemble trapping supplies, including humane traps, newspapers and other useful materials.
  7. Withhold food (but not water) for about 24 hours before trapping, with the cooperation of caregivers and neighbours.


  1. Bait and set the traps in a safe location, using as many traps as there are cats in the colony needing trapping.
  2. Wait patiently nearby but out of sight, for cats to enter the traps and the traps to close.
  3. Quickly cover each occupied trap with a cover or sheet, which helps to calm the cat within.
  4. Check whether each trapped cat is already owned or neutered (ear tip; identification tattoo or microchip; lost pet databases and ads), and take appropriate action.
  5. If trap occupants are wildlife, carefully release them.
  6. Safely transport the cats in their traps to the clinic or holding area.
  7. If a cat is too fearful or savvy of the regular box trap, try alternate traps and methods.

Neutering: Medical care and socialization

  1. Provide extra care for cats not yet ready for surgery. Cats in poor condition may need to receive medical attention, gain weight and strength before surgery. Young kittens may be socialized in foster care, which prevents their becoming feral. Nursing mother cats may be kept with their kittens (and even other orphaned kittens) until the kittens are weaned. “Kittens can be safely spayed or neutered at eight weeks, or as soon as they weigh two pounds (and are healthy).
  2. When ready, a veterinarian performs spay or neuter surgery and provides other medical attention as needed. Multiple surgeries may be done in high volume clinics.
  3. During the surgery of feral cats, ear-tipping (removing 3/8 inch or 1 cm from the tip of the left ear; proportionally smaller in a kitten) identifies that the cat has been neutered and treated, when later seen from a distance.
  4. Vaccinations are provided as arranged in advance. Common vaccines include rabies and FVRCP, “the ‘distemper’ (panleukopenia) and respiratory virus vaccine”.
  5. Cats found suffering with terminal or untreatable illnesses or injuries are humanely euthanized.
  6. When the vet deems that the cats are ready to leave the clinic, transport them to the recovery area, and monitor them for at least 24 hours.
  7. If needed, provide further nursing care (e.g. administering medications; providing recovery time from more complex surgery such as amputation).

Returning: The cats go home

  1. If the original colony location is safe, transport the feral cats there and safely release them from their traps or carriers.
  2. If the location is not safe for feral cats, make other arrangements for farmyard homes.
  3. Keep tame cats and kittens in foster care until they are adopted. If there are insufficient resources to foster or shelter, the cats may be returned to outdoor colony locations in the same manner as feral cats.
  4. Keep detailed records of the cats assisted,  and clean the traps and materials used.
  5. Caregivers monitor the outdoor colony locations, providing food, shelter, and medical care, and watching for any new abandoned cats requiring trapping. Some communities with “Feral Freedom” programs return cats without ongoing monitoring by caregivers.

Credit Wikipedia: Trap–neuter–return

Click to Enlarge Photos


Good to know

• Unless special arrangements have been made in advance, all animals must be dropped off during intake hours (7:30 AM to 7:45 AM) on the day of the surgery, and picked up later the same day before we close (typically between 1:00-4:00 PM).

• While appointments for feral cats are not required, it will make check in faster if you call, let us know when you plan to trap and register as a client.

• Feral cats must be in a humane live trap for the safety of the cat and our staff. Label the trap with your name and a brief description of the cat. Sticky address labels work well for this.

• All feral cats will be ear-tipped.

• If you are working with a community organization that will be covering the costs of TNR for your colony, you must make arrangements ahead of time for us to verify your trapping and payment status with them.

• Kittens over 8 weeks of age can be fixed as long as they weigh at least 3 lbs.

• It is preferable to have kittens off the lactating mothers for 2 weeks prior to spaying the mama cat.

  • No food after 10 PM the night before.
  • Animals with active flees will be given Capstar for a $5 fee.
  • Make sure you arrive on time.
  • If you arrive after 8:00 AM you will be rescheduled.