Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the process of humanely (non-lethally) trapping feral cats to have them spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped* and returned to where they were trapped.
What is a Feral Cat?
A feral cat is an outdoor cat that has not been socialized by people and requires "trapping" to bring it to a veterinary facility. Feral cats live outdoors in groups known as colonies. These colonies can survive on their own but their lives can be improved immensely by a regular "caretaker."**
Feral vs. Stray:
Feral cats will not allow you to approach or handle them; they need to be humanely trapped in order to bring them to a veterinary facility. A stray cat will likely approach you and is likely to be vocal. A stray cat that has only been coming around for a few days should be given the opportunity to find its way back to his owner, and so it is best not to feed or trap it during this time.
Can’t we just trap and remove all the cats?
Simply removing cats from an area opens up an ecological void (also called the "vacuum effect") which more cats will likely fill and a new cycle of reproduction will begin. If the colony is sterilized and monitored by a "caretaker" the cat population should stabilize and gradually decline over time.
About Our TNR Program
The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA offers free spay/neuter, vaccinations (booster and rabies), and ear-tipping for feral cats throughout our service cities only: Arcadia, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino and Sierra Madre. Humane traps are available at a cost of $6 per day with a fully refundable deposit of $80 to be credited back to you upon return of the trap. Please notify the SNiP Coordinator if you will need a humane trap.
Please do not schedule your pet cat or an owned cat through the TNR program.
Program Hours: Tuesday through Friday between 9am-4pm, but you must have an appointment in order to participate. Cats brought in without an appointment may not be admitted.
Please contact our SNiP coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule an appointment. Because of the high volume of requests we receive it may be a few days before someone can contact you.
Additional Educational Resources
- "How to Live with Cats in Your Neighborhood"
- "How to Help Feral Cats: A step-by-step guide to Trap-Neuter-Return."
*Ear-tipping: All feral cats brought to our clinic are "ear-tipped" while under anesthesia and it is done for the health and safety of feral cats as it prevents needless trapping and surgery. The veterinarian makes a straight cut across the ear with a scalpel or laser, and there is little or no bleeding.
**"Caretakers": Individuals who accept responsibility for caring for the colony - not just leaving out food, but ensuring every colony member is sterilized, vaccinated and monitoring the colony for newcomers, injuries and illness.