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Scope Out the Neighborhood

Community cats are a part of the community.

You can find them in your backyard, behind stores,

in parking lots, etc. Watch your neighborhood for unowned outdoor cats and ask people what they know about the cats. 

Address concerns and explain how TNR will benefit the neighborhood (reducing nuisance like spraying/urination, yowling, fighting, etc.). 

Recruit volunteers for feeding and trapping. Permission is necessary for private property owners.


If you're new to TNR, read the Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook!  


Establish a Feeding Schedule & Identify Cats

Before trapping, a feeding schedule should be established. Food should be placed consistently at the same time every day, ideally the time you are planning to trap. The cats will learn to come at this time and are more likely to arrive on the day of the trapping. 

While feeding, observe the number of cats and try to note their appearances (or personality) to keep track of your colony. It is also helpful to track your colony for any injuries, special needs, or missing cats. 

If you are feeding in cold weather, please place shelters outside to keep the cats warm.


Description Example: Gray & white tabby with white paws and green eyes (no ear tip)

Arrange Holding Space, Spay/Neuter, Traps, & Transportation

Prepare a temperature-controlled location where the cats can be stored before and after surgery. This can be a garage, barn, spare room, or bathroom. 

Schedule an appointment at a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. You can find a local provider here

Reserve traps and materials needed during the trapping and surgery aftercare. Some TNR clinics and programs will often loan their traps with a refundable cost or signature of return. 

Gather volunteers for transportation and aftercare.



Withhold Food & Observe Traps

Withhold food the day before trapping so the cats are eager to eat bait inside the traps. 


ALWAYS stay within observable distance from the traps. Do not leave traps without supervision in case of emergencies. 

Once cats are captured, cover traps with a blanket or sheet and transport them to the designated holding space. While caring for the cats before their spay/neuter, please follow this guideline for specific care and steps. 

Transportation & Surgery

Transport the cats to the clinic for surgery, then return them to the temperature-controlled holding space for recovery. 

Cats cannot maintain their body temperature after anesthesia exposure.

Return the cats to their territory once they have recovered (24 hrs for males, 48 hours for females) and do not exhibit any signs of need for medical intervention.


Return & Colony Care

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