Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a program through which free-roaming cats are trapped, spayed/neutered, then returned to the outdoor locations where they were found. If those locations are deemed unsafe or otherwise inappropriate, you may have to relocate the cats. (Barn/farmyard homes are often ideal.) In addition, kittens young enough to be socialized and friendly adult cats can go to shelters or be placed in foster care for eventual adoption into homes as companion animals rather than returned to the outdoors.
- No income restrictions.
- Feral cats must come in a humane live trap.
- We ear-tip all feral cats.
- Traps are available for loan with a $75.00 deposit. We will return the deposit when you return the trap.
- The current price varies depending on the funding for spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, and ear tipping. This price is subject to change due to funding availability.
- An appointment is preferred but is not required.
- Check-in is between 7:45 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- For more information, please call us at 479-756-1100.
More information on TNR
- 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 to provide care after trapping.
- Communicate with neighbors and any caretakers. Build good community relations, working to address the concerns of others.
- Establish a regular feeding schedule, such as feeding stations and winter shelters.
- Secure a holding/recovery area where the cats can wait for surgery (if not immediately) and recover after surgery.
- Find and coordinate with a veterinarian or clinic to perform the surgery and provide other medical treatment.
- Assemble trapping supplies, including humane traps, newspapers, and other useful materials.
- Withhold food (but not water) for about 24 hours before trapping, with the cooperation of caregivers and neighbors.
- Bait and set the traps in a safe location, using as many traps as there are cats in the colony needing trapping.
- Wait patiently nearby but out of sight for cats to enter and close the traps.
- Quickly cover each occupied trap with a cover or sheet, which helps to calm the cat within.
- Check whether each trapped cat is owned or neutered (ear tips, identification tattoo or microchip, lost pet databases and ads, etc.) and take appropriate action.
- If trap occupants are wildlife, carefully release them.
- Safely transport the cats in their traps to the clinic or holding area.
- If a cat is too fearful or savvy of the regular box trap, try alternate traps and methods.
Neutering: Medical care and socialization
- Provide extra care for cats not yet ready for surgery. Cats in poor condition may need medical attention or to gain weight and strength before surgery. Young kittens may be socialized in foster care, preventing them from becoming feral. You can keep nursing mother cats 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 three (3) pounds (and are healthy).
- When ready, a veterinarian performs spay or neuter surgery and provides other medical attention. Multiple surgeries may be done in high-volume clinics.
- 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.
- Vaccinations are provided as arranged in advance. Common vaccines include rabies and FVRCP.
- Cats found suffering from terminal or untreatable illnesses or injuries are humanely euthanized.
- 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.
- If needed, provide further nursing care (e.g., administering medications or providing recovery time from more complex surgery such as amputation).
Returning: The cats go home.
- If the original colony location is safe, transport the feral cats and safely release them from their traps or carriers.
- If the location is unsafe for feral cats, make other arrangements for farmyard homes.
- Keep tame cats and kittens in foster care until they are adopted. If insufficient resources exist to foster or shelter, the cats may be returned to outdoor colony locations like feral cats.
- Keep detailed records of the cats assisted, and clean the traps and materials used.
- Monitor the outdoor colony locations, providing food, shelter, and medical care, and watch for newly abandoned cats requiring trapping. Some communities with “Feral Freedom” programs return cats without ongoing monitoring by caregivers.