How to accomplish your own TNR project!

Trap-Neuter-Return, commonly referred to as “TNR,” is the only humane and effective method at controlling feral cat population growth. If you see a colony of cats that you wish to help, it is important that not only food and shelter are provided but also that the population is controlled. Neighborhood Cats has a great description on the many benefits of TNR:

Step 1: Scope out your area & count your cats. This may take a few visits to the area where the cats are living. Be sure to get a visual on if they are already ear tipped. This would indicate they have already been TNR’d


Step 2: Determine if the cats are being cared for. If you see food and shelters, most likely there is a kind person who is doing their best to assist the colony.

Step 3: Make friends with the caretakers & feeders. You may want to leave a note with an email address if you do not see them feeding the cats. Offer your assistance with trapping and fixing the cats. Set aside or fund raise the money you will need for the surgeries and vaccinations.

Step 4: Plan for the date you will be trapping, make your low-cost spay/neuter clinic appointment(s), set up your pre/post trapping staging area (basements or garages are best) and request the cats are not fed the day before to ensure they are hungry enough to enter the traps.

Step 5: Get there early! Have: 1. One trap for each cat.  2. A cover for each trap. 3. Plenty of newspaper to line the bottom of the traps. ( line it the short way so you don’t have to pull as much out from under the cat when cleaning) 4. Stinky hot chicken or similar food that will encourage the cats to enter the traps. ( Heat the cans right on your car vent ) 5. Plastic and paper lining to protect your vehicle seats. 6. Have a book and some coffee, because it is a waiting game 🙂

IMGP0518Step 6: Set up the traps. This can be done in an area the cats are normally fed. You will want to partially cover each trap, so the cats still able to see out, but you can quickly cover the trap once the cat has set it off. Leave a small trail of food to entice the cat, but the majority of the food should be past the trap release so the cat goes all the way in and engages the door to shut. You want to be close by to hear the trap go off because the cat will most likely panic, they should calm down once the trap is covered. Move the trapped cat away from the remaining traps and in to your vehicle that will be used for transportation.


Step 7: Transport the cats to your local low cost spay and neuter location. Ideally the cats are recovered in a basement or garage before and after the surgery. This will allow you time to trap the cats prior to your appointment (drop off is usually in the morning and the cat should not eat past midnight the night before if an adult). This will also allow for the cats to recover without hindering the healing process in the first couple days. If you don’t have the capability of recovering the cats, some clinics will allow the cats to stay for an additional fee.


Step 8: Release the cats back at the location they were trapped in. Ensure they continue to receive regular food/ water, and that they have sufficient shelter to protect from predators and weather.

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Learn more about you local shelter & Legislation 

It is also worth noting that unfortunately many townships and states do not support TNR. This is due to lack of education, and misguided information on community cats and the many benefits of Trap-Neuter-Return. Your town may be enforcing trap and euthanize, and feeding bans. You can become a voice of change by speaking out about the benefits of TNR, being part of the No Kill movement.

Check out your local TNR workshops and networking opportunities !

Our Holiday TNR story : 

We decided to do our own TNR project last week after rescuing the adorable T Hanks the day before Thanksgiving. We found out he was part of a colony that included his two litter mates and wanted to help them out too. Nine adult cats were TNR’ed and his two siblings were captured for socialization! Thank you to all that have donated lately – YOU make projects like this possible!


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We will continue wonderful projects like this in the 2015 year with the help from your donations, and our wonderful volunteers!

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