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TNVR Resources

Helpful TNVR Tips and Information

Feral cat in trap

The following are guidelines recommended by Best Friends Animal Society for trapping community cats (free-roaming, feral cats) for the purpose of trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR). Specific instructions for how to trap feral cats may be slightly different depending on the type of trap that you are using.

Please do not trap cats prior to having a confirmed appointment with EHS.

How to Set a Humane Trap

If you do not have a humane trap, you can purchase them at some hardware stores and online from websites such as Havahart, Trucatch and Amazon.

Please note - this video is being shared as an example. The Erie Humane Society will provide information regarding transporting the cat(s) and requirements for surgery.

Baiting, Trapping, and Transporting

  • To ensure that the cats will be hungry, don’t feed them the day or night before you are going to trap. Be sure to notify others who feed the cats not to leave food out. Hungry cats will be less apprehensive about entering the trap.
  • Using a high value bait, such as wet cat food or tuna, will help to attract the cat to your trap and draw them inside.
  • The cat should be in the trap a minimum amount of time before surgery, so trapping the night before is recommended. Once a cat is trapped, they should not eat after midnight the night before surgery.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Kittens will not be weaned from their mother until they are four to six weeks of age, and will not be ready for surgery until they are eight to ten weeks of age. If you are trapping a lactating female, try to locate the kittens and see if they are old enough to be weaned. If you are unsure whether the kittens are old enough to be weaned, it is recommended that the kittens remain with their mom until they are old enough for TNVR.
  • Prepare the area where you plan to hold the cats before surgery. A garage or other sheltered, temperature-controlled, protected area is best. Lay down newspapers or absorbent material to catch stool, urine and food residue.
  • Prepare the vehicle you will use to transport them as well. Putting down plastic provides extra protection for your vehicle, but be sure to use newspapers or some other absorbent material on top of the plastic.
  • Plan your day of trapping carefully. If you trap a cat and release him or her, it is unlikely that you will be able to catch that cat again. They learn very quickly!

Ear Tipping

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Ear-tipping involves surgically removing a small portion of one of a cat’s ears while the cat is under anesthesia for spay or neuter surgery. It is extremely safe and the universally accepted way to signify that a community cat has been spayed or neutered. There is little or no bleeding involved, it is not painful to the cat, and the ear heals up quickly.

Stray Cat or Feral Cat?

A stray cat is a domestic cat that strayed from home and became lost or was abandoned. Because a stray cat was once a companion animal, they usually can be re-socialized and placed in an adoptive home.

A feral cat is a domestic cat that was lost or abandoned and has reverted to a wild state or a cat that was born to a stray or feral mother and had little or no human contact.

Learn more about how to distinguish between a stray cat and a feral cat here.

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DIY Cold Weather Shelter

Constructing a DIY cold weather shelter for feral cats is an easy, inexpensive way to provide shelter suitable to help a cat stay warm by using their own body heat. Check out our blog, with a video demonstration, images, and downloadable instructions on how to build a cold weather shelter for feral cats.