What is Trap Neuter Return TNR?

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Trapping Guidelines

  • Feral cat colonies are by appointment only

  • Trappers can schedule up to 5 cats online or by phone answering service 866.820.2510

  • You must wait for a confirmation email or return phone call for your appointment date

  • Trappers with 1 TRAPPED cat can walk in between 8-930AM on our scheduled clinic days

  • Do NOT trap unless you have a clinic to take them for neuter the next day.

  • Make sure that you understand how to open and set the trap before you leave the clinic.

  • Have a date of surgery scheduled and plan to trap the evening before surgery.

  • Do NOT leave a trap open OVERNIGHT or unattended.

  • Do NOT attempt to transfer cats from the trap to a dog crate or carrier. For the safety of our vet staff, PLEASE do not bring feral cats for surgery in a dog crate or pet cat carrier, cardboard box or pillowcase.

  • Cats can be held overnight and fed in the traps the evening before surgery.

  • Transport them covered to the clinic the next day.

Loaner Traps

LOANER TRAPS are available for the sole purpose of Trap Neuter Return activities and will be used to bring cats to the NNN clinic. NNN traps are NOT to be used to capture a cat/kitten for relinquishment to an animal shelter for destruction.

  • Loaner traps are available for 2 weeks: $25 refundable cash deposit for 2 traps. If you want to rent more traps, there will be additional costs.

  • For that hard to trap cat, we have BOX TRAPS available. Call the number below for availability.

  • Trap pickup/drop off available during from 10-4 PM on clinic surgery days. Our staff is in surgery during the day and is not available to assist you at other times.

  • Your deposit will be returned ONLY is the trap is brought back in clean, working condition.

Call clinic to check on loaner trap availability:

Reading: 610.751.1755

Allentown: 610.741.3437


Mahanoy City: 610.751.5383

Trapping Contacts

  • Lehigh Valley: Martha - TNR coordinator | marthakahan@yahoo.com
  • Berks County: Deb - TNR coordinator | lildebrescues@hotmail.com
  • Bucks / Montgomery Counties: StrayCatBlues TNR group www.straycatblues.org or email savingstrays@yahoo.com
  • Schuylkill County: Kristi ksjlsjb@yahoo.com
  • Shamokin Township: Maria Bressi mariabressi@hotmail.com 570-335-8749

Pre-Trapping Instructions

  • Place the trap in the area where you typically feed the cats. Do not place a trap out in the open; place under shrubs, small trees, corners of buildings, etc.

  • Check with neighbors to see if there are other people feeding. If so, ask them to discontinue until TNR is finished or put traps at their feeding station.

  • Secure the trap door open with wire, string or a stick. Place a thin layer of newspaper on the bottom. If it gets wet or blows, you can leave the bottom bare. Plan to use the trap as a feeding station 3-4 days in advance of your surgery date. This helps the cats get accustomed to entering the trap and not to be afraid. It is NOT recommended to use plastic bowls or plates as they can block the door when trapping. You can use a paper plate.

  • Start with placing food at the front of the trap on the first day and move the food toward the back of the trap each feeding afterward. You are training the cat not to be afraid to go all the way into the trap the day/evening of trapping.

  • 24 hours BEFORE ( or 1 feeding before) the day/evening of trapping, DO NOT feed the cats. If they are used to being fed and now are hungry, it will increase the success of catching them. Kittens weighing 2-3 lbs will trip the plate; can be trapped, fixed and eartipped.>

Trapping Instructions

  • Place a tablespoon of tuna at the very BACK of the trap through the top of the trap .If you place the food too closely to the trip plate, the cat can lean over it rather than step on it. You do NOT have to use a lot of tuna. You will be feeding them later after trapping them. If your cats are used to a favorite food, you can use that too, preferably wet food not dry.

  • Release the trap door and set the hook which activates the trip plate .Cover cat when trapped with old sheets or towels. This helps decrease the stress and they settle down. Remove trapped cats from the trapping area so they don’t scare others away. The cats can be fed food thru the top of the trap. Wet food is preferable because there is moisture and eliminates the need to put a container of water in the trap. Do not attempt to transfer cats to carriers as they are very fast and will get out. Leave them in the traps until surgery.

  • The sound of trap doors can scare some cats away. Keep in mind that they are hungry and will come back for food. Sometimes, they will wait until it gets dark which makes them feel safer, so be patient!

  • Do NOT leave traps open overnite or unattended or you will be trapping wildlife such as skunks, opossums or raccoons. If you did not get all of the cats, close the traps down for the evening and start again in the morning in daylight. The longer the cat goes without food, the greater your chance of success. BE PATIENT!

  • Cats will be returned for recovery to you in traps and keep them in a quiet, warm place. They can be fed through the top of the trap, again with wet food. In most cases, a male cat can be released out of the trap 18-24 hours after surgery. Females should be left in the trap to recover for 48 hours. There are very few cases that a cat should be in the trap for a longer period. The clinic will inform you if there are additional needs.

  • PLEASE do not remove cats from the safety of a humane trap and place them into a room. WHY? Because the natural instinct of the cat is to jump and try to find a way out. The cat needs to be in a small contained space for the first 48 hours to avoid ripping open their stitches.

  • Lactating mothers can be fixed! The surgery does not interfere with the ability to make milk. The staff will inform you if they need to be released same day of surgery and will give you proper instructions for post surgery care before release.

  • Kittens that weigh 2.5 - 3 lbs can also be fixed.Rabies shot not given until 3 months old.

  • All cats receive a left ear tip; ALL cats receive a green tattoo along the incision line.

  • ALL free roaming cats should be ear- tipped. It is done under anesthesia and does not hurt them but it does PROTECT them! Why? Because the ear-tip (left) is a universal sign that this cat is fixed and vaccinated. For communities that have animal control/ kill shelter contracts, these beautiful cats are killed because they are not adoptable and take up space.An ear-tip may save their lives!!!

Cat Deterrents

Fixing our free roaming cats is the first step. However, we must also recognize that they still pee and poop and will go wherever they find a great spot for a litter box. Sometimes it is in our neighbors mulch, under their deck, on their patio furniture or in their well tended vegetable or flower gardens. It's our responsibility to provide ideas to keep the "peace" or the cats will always lose this battle. Sometimes it's as simple as closing up spaces they can get under. For other areas NNN has YARD SENTINEL and ScareCrow deterrents at our clinics. Ask our staff about them and we ask for a donation to cover the cost.

Yard Sentinel is an ultrasonic device. For other areas, very inexpensive ultrasonic solar cat deterrents are available starting at $10 per unit.

Flea Management In Colonies

Diatomaceous earth is an organic material and can be used for OUTSIDE colonies where fleas are a problem. It should be sprinkled on the ground around the feeding areas when dry. We are not recommending this to be used on the cats or for inside cats.

Ongoing cat colony management

  • Make sure that the shelters you build/make are not in obvious areas for the public to see. There are many inexpensive ideas for making shelters. Straw is a great insulator. Visit AlleyCatAllies for ideas.
  • Makes sure that all containers used to feed, are in discreet areas and do not blow away. Do not leave paper plates and bowls on the ground.
  • Do NOT leave out food over-nite. You are attracting wildlife to the cat’s feeding areas. You are wasting your money and it may present a risk to the cats if a rabid animal is nearby.
  • Provide litter box areas for your cats using sand or mulch.
Discovering a mom and her kittens during Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) can be an adorable yet challenging experience (mostly adorable). To properly handle a mom and her kittens, there are a lot of factors to consider. Should you leave mom with her kittens? Are the kittens old enough to separate from mom? What if you find kittens without mom? How can you safely trap a family?/p> It’s important to first determine how old a kitten is so you can decide what’s best for them. For kittens younger than 8 weeks, the best place for them is with their mother, if possible. Kittens older than 4 months should be returned as part of TNR. The ideal range for socializing kittens for adoption is about 6 to 12 weeks old. Here are some tips on how to handle common kitten and mom scenarios that you might encounter:
  • Kittens without mom. First, determine if the kittens are truly without a mother or if she is just off looking for food. Mother cats may need to take a rest break away from the kittens as well! The only way to know if the kittens are truly without a mother is by waiting around to see if the mother returns, which can take a few hours. Observe the kittens from a distance or a hidden spot to see if mom returns before you move the kittens. Remember, it’s best for kittens younger than 8 weeks to stay with their mother.
  • If mom doesn’t return after several hours, or if the kittens are in immediate danger, you can choose to care for them yourself. Of course, this isn’t a decision to take lightly since, depending on their age, they may need intensive newborn kitten care (1 to 4 weeks old). Again, if you have the time and dedication, young kittens can be socialized, fostered, or adopted (6 to 16 weeks old). But if you don’t have the time or resources to foster kittens for adoption, you should just include them as part of TNR).
  • If mom returns, and kittens are too young to separate from her, remember that mom is the best caregiver for the kittens. If they‘re too young to separate, leave them with their mom. Provide food, water, and shelter, and monitor the family daily, making the environment as safe as possible. Once the kittens are older, you can decide to foster them for adoption or to include them with their mom in the TNR process.
  • If you think it’s safer for the whole family to come indoors, for instance if you find mom and her kittens in an area too dangerous for them to live like a busy highway, bring the whole family inside to a quiet, small room (like a bathroom) where they can live until the kittens are weaned and it’s safe to get them all spayed or neutered. Consider providing the mother cat and kittens with a medium-large sized dog crate to use as a hiding place until they get used to their new surroundings. Then decide to foster the kittens for adoption or return them to a safe location outdoors with their mom.
  • If the kittens are old enough to be separated from their mother, you must make the best decision for the kittens based on your time and resources. You can socialize and foster the kittens for adoption, or you can get them all spayed or neutered with their mom and return them to the outdoors.
  • If you trap a cat and find out she’s a nursing mom, it’s best to get her spayed and returned to the area you found her as soon as possible. You usually won’t discover a cat is a nursing mom until you bring her to be spayed, but this may be the only opportunity you have to spay her, so move forward with the procedure. Don’t worry, mother cats continue to produce milk even after being spayed. It could also be helpful to speak with the clinic you choose to let them know of your plans to return nursing mothers as soon as possible so they can adjust their schedule or procedures.
  • If a cat is pregnant. This can be a very difficult decision because spaying a pregnant cat would mean terminating her pregnancy. The choice is yours to make, but remember, this might be the only opportunity you have to catch this cat, get her spayed, and protect her from future health risks and ongoing stresses of mating and pregnancy. Otherwise, you can return the pregnant cat back outdoors and monitor her until she has her kittens and they are properly weaned and old enough to be spayed and neutered with the mother cat. Alternately, if you have the time and resources, you could bring the pregnant cat inside to a small, quiet room for the remainder of her pregnancy to allow her to have her kittens. The mother cat would care for the kittens, and you could foster and socialize the kittens to prepare them for adoption.