Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR, is the most humane and effective method known for managing feral and stray cats. The cats are trapped, spayed and neutered, vaccinated and then returned to their outdoor homes. Caretakers provide food and shelter and monitor the cats.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, we will refer you to the experts. Go to https://www.neighborhoodcats.org and https://www.alleycat.org/. Collect as much information as you can on how to catch cats, provide them temporary shelter, get them vetted, and back to a safe place.
Here is a high-level overview of a typical TNR project:
- Do your homework. Learn all you can about safely and effectively working with community cats including TNR.)
- Canvas the neighborhood. Address issues residents may have and explain how TNR can help. Recruit feeders and volunteers for the trapping. Gain permission from property owners for needed access.
- Establish a feeding pattern, count the cats and assess if any have special needs. Put out feeding stations and shelters, if you haven’t already.
- Timing the project – Allow two to three days to trap, one day for the spay/neuter surgeries, and one to three days for post-surgical recovery.
- Arrange for traps, transport, vetting & recovery space. When the time comes, we can help you with this.
- Start trapping! Make sure your neighbors aren’t feeding the cats when you plan to trap. The cats won’t go into the traps to eat if they have other options.
- Ongoing care. Re-release the cats to the same location once they have recovered from their surgery. Line outdoor shelters with straw (not hay or blankets – they can mold) for the winter. We may be able to provide a shelter or two if needed. Or you can buy a small “igloo” from Home Depot for shelter. Keep the cats on a regular feeding schedule and keep an eye out for any new arrivals.
As long as the cats are not capable of breeding again, you’ve solved most of the problem. If the neighbors complain, simply inform them that you are solving what could become a serious health issue for the neighborhood. Tell them you are working with us and we can confirm that.
This problem will only increase if not addressed by caring people like you. We know TNR is not easy, pretty, or glamorous, but once the cats are fixed, you’ll know you have provided an abandoned animal with much needed care.
Thank you for helping our feline friends!