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What is Trap-Neuter-Return?

In a Trap-Neuter-Return program, community cats are humanely trapped (with box traps), brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to their outdoor home.

Why not catch and kill?

For more than a century, the American shelter and animal control system has been relying on catching and killing outdoor cats to control their population. This approach continues to fail, and the number of outdoor cats increases despite the fact that millions of vibrant, healthy outdoor cats are killed each year. Taxpayer money that funds shelters and animal control agencies is wasted on an endless cycle of trapping and killing. Increasingly, the public believes that the money spent on killing could and should be re-allocated to programs that help animals.

With catch and kill policies, vaccinated and neutered cats are removed from an area. But that only creates a vacuum in the environment, where new cats move in to take advantage of available resources. The new cats breed and the cat population grows. Catch and kill policies aren’t just cruel and ineffective, they go against what the public really wants: humane approaches to cats.

How does this help my feral situation and make it better for the feral/community cats?

TNR stabilizes community cat populations by stopping the breeding cycle. TNR improves cats’ lives and benefits public health by relieving them of the constant stresses of mating and pregnancy and vaccinating them against rabies. TNR stops disruptive mating behaviors like yowling, spraying, roaming, and fighting so cats and people can coexist peacefully. It stabilizes populations at manageable levels, by stopping the reproductive cycle. Over time, the natural cycle of attrition will maintain the stable numbers and any new cats to the colony will be sterilized. Lastly, TNR saves taxpayer’s money by reducing shelter intake, shelter euthanasia, and calls of concern to animal control.

How does the program work?

1. Citizen trappers fill out our application on this page. Once they are given an appointment date they are instructed where to get humane cat traps 10-14 days prior to the appointment date.

2. The citizen trappers start setting up traps the day(s) before the spay/neuter appointment.


3. Trapping occurs the day before the spay/neuter appointment. Once caught, the cats are kept in a warm, dry, safe, secure location usually a garage or shed and given food and water up the night before the appointment. The feeding can be done in a unique way without opening the trap. Safety first!!


4. The day of the appointment the citizen trapper brings the cats in their humane traps to the designated location for the Foothills Spay and Neuter Transport Clinic Van to pick up at 7 am and drive down to the clinic or the day.  The cats will remain most of the day, until they return in the late afternoon (4-4:15 pm) when the citizen picks up their ferals.

5. That night the cats spend one more night in a warm, dry, safe secure place to recover and released the next day. (especially females without nursing kittens) 

6. The citizen caretakers make sure the colony of cats are fed daily, and given water and shelter for the rest of their lives. The numbers of cats get lower because they are all getting fixed and can not reproduce.

Ashe Humane Society helps citizens/feral colonies (in Ashe County only) in cooperation with Ashe County Animal Control. ACAC can supply the citizens with humane cat traps and give advice how to set up the traps and lure the cats in the trap. 

Ashe Humane Society will be paying 100% of the bill for all Ashe County feral cats (ferals are cats that are trapped in a humane trap because they are not at all socialized to be touched nor safely held) going to the Foothills Spay and Neuter Transport Clinic!!!  All feral cats will go to their surgery appointment in Humane Traps only for the safety of the transporters and vet clinic personnel.  Fill out the application below and we will set up those appointments.

How to trap a Feral Cat Video: Click Here

How to trap a Feral Cat Article and Video: Click Here

If you wish take your own feral cats to the Humane Society of Catawba for spay/neuter and make your own appointment (usually you will get an earlier date than we can offer) here is the link:

We will reimburse you the $40 cost per cat with proof of spay/neuter. (your invoice)

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