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You Asked, We Answered


1. Trap: Humanely trap all the cats in a colony. A colony is a group of cats living outdoors together.


2. Neuter/Spay: Take the cats in their traps to a veterinarian or clinic to be neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat).


3. Return: After the cats recover, return them to their outdoor home where they were trapped

Cats on the Street

Promoting the Well-being of Cats: Avoid Taking Cats to Shelters

Cats are better off outside of shelters, and this viewpoint is becoming increasingly accepted by most shelters.

When you come across a cat in need, your initial instinct might be to contact animal control or hurriedly take the cat to your local animal shelter. However, depending on local regulations, taking either of these actions could jeopardize the cat's life. In certain areas, bringing cats to shelters often results in them being euthanized.

Since community cats typically have limited socialization with humans, they are deemed unadoptable. Consequently, historically, the majority of them were euthanized in shelters. Although there have been improvements, the national statistics for positive outcomes of cats brought to shelters, even those that are friendly, remain disappointingly low.


The encouraging news is that a growing number of animal shelters and animal control agencies are adopting compassionate policies towards cats. Many of them actively support community Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) initiatives or establish their own TNR programs, sometimes known as Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), Return to Field (RTF), or Feral Freedom. Therefore, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of your local shelter regarding community cats.

Visit to the Vet

Steps for Trapping Cats/Kittens

Community cats typically exhibit wariness towards people.

Cats, even those that are usually friendly towards their caregivers, can feel frightened and threatened in new and unfamiliar situations, such as being trapped and transported to a veterinarian. It is important to recognize that community cats cannot express their needs or indicate if they are injured or frightened. They may react by attempting to escape the traps or by becoming passive and unresponsive. It is crucial for you to maintain a quiet, calm demeanor and prioritize the well-being of the cats throughout the trapping process.

Every trapping endeavor is unique.

Each location where a colony resides, whether it's a college campus, warehouse, farm, alley, or small business parking lot, presents its own distinct factors to consider. Use your judgment and common sense to determine any additional steps required beyond the guidance provided in this manual, tailoring the basics to suit your specific circumstances. For instance, you may need to collaborate with college administrators, connect with other caregivers, or ensure that you have an adequate number of traps and vehicles for a larger colony.


Most importantly, take the time to plan.

Before embarking on your trapping efforts. Familiarize yourself with all the steps and scenarios involved in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), both within this booklet and through online resources, and develop your own guide tailored to your situation. Having a well-defined plan will help you feel more comfortable and confident during trapping, ensuring that the cats experience minimal stress and remain as safe as possible.

Remember: Your actions are in the best interest of the cats. Implementing TNR will significantly improve the lives of these cats.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to pick up or handle a community cat.

Even if it's a kitten. Doing so puts both yourself and the cat at risk of injury. Additionally, be sure to use only humane box traps or drop traps for trapping community cats, never resorting to darts or tranquilizers. 

Make plans and strive to trap all cats and kittens.

During your initial trapping session. This is crucial because repeated exposure to the trapping process makes cats more suspicious of traps over time.

Cat's Eye

Get To Know the Cats and People In Your Neighborhood

This is an essential aspect of TNR. Educate your neighbors about the community cats before engaging in TNR efforts. It is important to gather as much information as possible through observation and conversations with your neighbors. The better you understand the community cats in your area, including their population size, relationships with each other, and interactions with other people, the higher the likelihood of success in your TNR endeavors.

Your curiosity plays a pivotal role in saving cats. 
Most people do not initially set out with the intention of finding and trapping cats in their neighborhood for the purpose of spaying or neutering them. It often starts with spotting a cat or a few cats and becoming curious about them. You might notice them repeatedly and even start feeding them. As you observe them and realize that they likely do not belong to anyone but are community cats, your interest in their well-being grows, and you become more informed about their situation. All of this curiosity and involvement is commendable, normal, and highly beneficial.

Shift your focus from the cats to the people residing near them. 
Once you have identified community cats in your neighborhood that have not undergone a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, indicated by the absence of a distinctive eartip given to spayed/neutered and vaccinated cats, you may find that many of your neighbors have also noticed and developed affection for these cats. It is important to consider their feelings and potential involvement before proceeding with trapping. Some neighbors may be unknowingly feeding or caring for the cats, and it would be polite and practical to coordinate with them. Encourage them to refrain from feeding the cats leading up to the trapping day.

In a friendly and positive manner.
Reach out to the people living and working near the colony location. Take the initiative to visit their homes and shops, introduce yourself, and explain your intention to assist the community cats in the neighborhood through TNR. Educate them about the benefits of TNR and inform them of your planned trapping schedule.

Establishing open lines of communication and providing education.
People may have concerns due to a lack of awareness about community cats thriving outdoors or the positive impact of spaying/neutering. They may also have specific issues related to the cats that can be addressed through dialogue. Even if they have concerns about the cats, it is likely that they do not wish harm upon them.

Position yourself as the point of contact for questions or concerns.
Introducing yourself as someone they can reach out to. By doing so, you can prevent potential issues from escalating and endangering the welfare of the cats.

If you notice signs that the cats have other caregivers in the area, such as food, water bowls, or shelters, consider leaving your contact information discreetly under a food bowl. Include a note stating that you are there to help the cats and encourage their caregivers to engage with you about your TNR plans. Their cooperation could be instrumental to the success of your efforts.

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