Ventura County Animal Services is proud to be a part of a countywide TNR effort to help control the overpopulation of community cats. TNR stands for “Trap Neuter Return”, a process whereby feral/community cats are trapped humanely by trained and experienced trappers, and transported to a veterinary facility for spay or neuter surgery before they are release back to the area from which they were found if it is safe to do so.
VCAS is one of several organizations who provide spay/neuter services for those in our community who routinely trap feral/community cats. Please note that these individuals have extensive knowledge, training and experience to humanely trap cats. Please do not attempt to trap cats without learning the process. Doing so without this knowledge could place undo harm and stress upon cats. If you are interested in becoming a trapper to assist in our efforts, please email the Community Cats Coalition serving Ventura County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are video tutorials explaining how to humanely trap a community cat in order to minimize the amount of stress they experience.
A few notes before we begin:
- Trappers must schedule a TNR Surgical Appointment before the cats are trapped.
- Each cat must have their own separate appointment.
- Those who miss their appointment will need to reschedule on their own.
- Cats must arrive in a humane trap, as carriers or other enclosures will not be accepted.
- TNR cats will not be staying at the shelter overnight, thus drop-off and pick-up times occur on the same day.
- For assistance in scheduling, please call (805) 388-4275.
Step 1: Safety First
Never attempt to handle a feral cat and keep them away from children and other pets. If you or anyone are bitten, seek immediate medical attention and quarantine the cat.
Step 2: Trapping
Each cat must arrive at VCAS in a metal humane live trap and covered with a towel to keep them calm. Cardboard or plastic pet carriers are not permitted. One cat per trap, please.
Step 3: Holding the Cat Overnight
Choose a place where the cat will be safe overnight while in their trap. This should be a climate-controlled, dry, well-ventilated area.
- Keep the cat calm and covered with a towel.
- Water should be made available at all times. Use a bowl that cannot be tipped easily.
- Kittens younger than 4 months may be fed one (1) teaspoon of wet food at 6:00am on the morning of surgery while cats older than 4 months must fast for four (4) hours before surgery.
- Monitor the cats throughout the night and in the morning.
Step 4: Surgery Day
- Transport safely. Never transport cats in an open truck bed or in a closed, unventilated car trunk.
- Check in at the front office. Be prepared to provide your full name, address, phone number, and the location where the cat was trapped.
- Owned animals are not permitted and will be rejected for surgery.
- Be available during the day to answer phone calls in the event of an emergency.
- Please note there is always a risk involved when an animal undergoes anesthesia. Caretakers are required to sign a release which hold Ventura County Animal Services, its staff, and its facilities harmless should a cat experience complications or death due to surgery. Any cat deemed to have a serious, untreatable medical condition that would make it inhumane to release back to their colony, may be humanely euthanized at the discretion of the veterinarian on duty.
- Return to the shelter for pick-up, and check in with the front office staff.
- A staff member will inform you of any special instructions before you leave the facility with the cat. VCAS will not be responsible for complications arising from the use of medications obtained elsewhere.
- Anesthesia lowers a cat’s body temperature. Make sure cats are not too hot or too cold. Elevate traps with wood blocks and place newspaper on the ground underneath to catch falling waste. Keep cats safe while recovering at home.
- Monitor cats after surgery. Check on them throughout the night and before release. Check the surgical site, if safe, and watch for steady breathing. In the rare occurrence of an adverse reaction, please call (805) 388-4341.
- Food and water. Wait until cats are fully awake before offering food or water. Open the trap door just enough to slide in a tuna-sized can of food as well as a water dish. Wet food is preferable.
- Sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removal.
- Lethargy (inactivity) and unsteadiness are normal during recovery.
- The following, however, are not normal behaviors: Vomiting, continued bleeding/discharge from the surgery site, and shivering the next morning. If any abnormal symptoms occur the morning after surgery, do not release the cat and call (805) 388-4341, immediately.
- Releasing cats the morning after surgery. Keeping cats longer than one night can result in unnecessary stress. Lactating females should be released the night of surgery so they can return and nurse their kittens as soon as possible. A staff member will inform you if your cat is lactating. Always release cats in the area where they were trapped. To release the cat, point the front of the trap away from you so it opens to an area as free from obstructions as possible (i.e. not facing a busy street.)
Thank you for helping to reduce the overpopulation of community cats in Ventura County!