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Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return (TNVR) Program

Have you been “adopted” by the cat outside? Feral and free-roaming cats are the largest contributors to the cat overpopulation crisis. Thousands of homeless animals are surrendered to our shelter each year.

The Erie Humane Society is thrilled to provide low-cost TNVR services for feral and free-roaming “community” cats. Services are performed at the Erie Humane Society by appointment only.

What is TNVR and Why Does it Work?

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Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return is the only proven method that is both humane and effective at controlling the feral cat population. Each cat that goes through the program is humanely trapped, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, then returned back to the area where it was trapped. TNVR is effective at reducing the “nuisance ” behaviors associated with large groups of cats, some of those being fighting, yowling, spraying, and of course having up to 3 litters a year!

Research has proven that old methods of catching and removing cats, either by relocating or euthanasia, only increases the number of cats over time. When a cat’s territory is vacated it frees up resources for other cats to take advantage of, regardless of whether cat food is provided or not. When cats are sterilized, vaccinated, and returned, they effectively hold or defend their territory so more cats can’t move in. This in turn stabilizes the area’s population and makes for healthier, better-off cats.

TNVR Services and Cost

TNVR services are scheduled one day each month. Pre-approved cats with an appointment must be dropped off in the morning, on the scheduled day, and picked up the same day. At their appointment, cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and ear-tipped to identify them as sterilized. We reserve the right to refuse services, at the discretion of our veterinarian, for cats that are ill, non-feral, or do not meet the qualifications for this service.

Cats will be able to be returned the same day and caregivers must return cats to their home—their colony—outdoors, immediately unless otherwise directed by our veterinarian.

Please note that EHS is not able to trap or transport cats.


Erie County Residents: $65.00

Outside of Erie County: $90.00

TNVR services must be paid in full, by cash or credit card, when the cat is dropped off. Checks are not accepted.


AVCVA Feral Affairs Network In the Spotlight

Please do not trap cats until you have a confirmed appointment (see below). We are unable to accommodate any unscheduled cats on the day of service.

If a community cat is found to be friendly, caregivers must first make every effort to locate the cat’s owner. Read more about what to do if you find a lost pet here.

Additional resources and helpful information including, how to set a humane trap, how to distinguish between stray/outdoor and feral cats, and more can be found here.

Cat must:

  • Be 2 months of age or older and a minimum of 2lbs.
  • Arrive in a humane trap (also known as a live trap – i.e. Havahart/Tomahawk). If you do not have a humane trap, they can often be purchased at your local lawn and garden center or online. EHS has a limited supply of traps for rent. Trap rental at EHS is $10 for a two-week rental period. You will be charged the full price of a trap ($80) if they are not returned at the end of the two-week rental period or if they are returned damaged. Please note that the Erie Humane Society will not send staff or volunteers to trap cats on your property.
  • Caregivers must return cats to the location they were trapped.

Application and Scheduling

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If TNVR sounds right for you, submit an application by clicking the button below.

You will be contacted in the order your application is received as scheduling allows. All appointments are serviced same-day. Once appointments are filled, you can request to be added to our waitlist.

You will receive a confirmation email prior to your appointment. Please review for requirements and guidelines for your appointment day.

Thank you for your efforts to care for community cats! Working together we can ensure these free-roaming cats have a long healthy life while not contributing further to the community cat or shelter population!