Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a common procedure used to control feral cat populations. Specifically, TNR refers to the process of trapping a feral cat, having it neutered or spayed, and returning it to its original location. Cats that have been through the steps of TNR are ear-tipped so that community residents know the cat has already been neutered and should therefore be left alone. If you're looking to trap a neighborhood feral cat for TNR purposes, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
DO Trap in Safe Temperatures
First of all, depending on where you live, understand that there are certain times of the year when trapping simply may not be safe. This is especially true in the northern region of the country, where temperatures drop below freezing during the winter months. During these times, many animal shelters and spay-neuter facilities will refuse to lend out traps in an effort to protect feral cats from ailment or even death caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. The best time to trap is generally during the spring and summer months.
DO Keep Kittens With Mothers
If you're planning on trapping a cat that has recently given birth to kittens, it's important to keep the kittens with the mother. This can be difficult, as the mother cat will often be trapped while venturing out to find food for her kittens. Once you have trapped the mother cat, be sure to gather up the kittens (placing them in a small, open box or basket is best) and place them in the trap with the mother so they can continue to receive the mother's milk as needed.
DON'T Let Cats Out of Traps
It's important to understand that feral cats aren't like your average house cats; as such, when they are trapped and feel scared, it's not uncommon for them to go to drastic measures to escape. This may include gnawing on the grates of the trap or even thrashing themselves against the walls of the trap. Unless you fear for the feral cat's life, however, you should not let the cat escape until it's been neutered or spayed. Often times, simply covering the trap with a blanket can help calm ferals down until you can bring them in for the procedure.
Trapping feral cats and having them spayed is a great way to help control the cat population in your area while ensuring a better quality of life for ferals in the process. Just be sure to keep these tips in mind throughout the trapping process. For more information about trapping animals in your area, contact an animal control company.