Feral Cats

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What is a Feral Cat? Feral cats are domestic cats that have not been socialized to people. When left to themselves, they continue to reproduce kittens that are only socialized to other cats and are afraid of people. In recent years many tame cats have been abandoned and have joined colonies of feral cats.

What is TNR? Trap, Neuter and Return programs assist “feral cats” and other street cats, even semi-tame cats that were once cared for by a person/family, but who now live in a cat colony. If you are feeding free-roaming, wild or feral cats you cannot catch, help is available. The Spay and Neuter Hotline (SNH) has a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for feral cats. TNR is the most humane and effective method for stabilizing the feral cat population. Cats are humanely trapped, spayed and neutered, ear-tipped and returned. Weekly clinics are held all throughout the Valley.

Trap: Free-roaming, primarily feral, cats are humanely trapped. This process is performed by those requesting participation in the TNR Program or volunteers assisting those who qualify for “trapping assistance”. The traps used are humane, “TruCatch box traps.”

Neuter: The cats are spayed or neutered by a veterinarian. This involves an ovo-hysterectomy for female cats- surgical removal of ovaries and the uterus and castration- removal of the testicles for male cats. These surgeries are sometimes called “fixing” your cat. The left ear is “tipped” to identify the cat as fixed. This procedure is performed while the cat is under anesthesia at the veterinary clinic. This is a universal identifier of a sterilized homeless/street/feral cat.

Return: The cats are returned to their original colonies’ location where caregivers may continue to provide food and water.

What are the benefits of TNR?

  • Ends the breeding cycle and stabilizes the population
  • More effective and less expensive than extermination
  • Eliminates or minimizes annoying behaviors such as spraying, yowling, and fighting
  • Helps end the suffering of unwanted, homeless cats
  • Reduces euthanasia due to the number of kittens flooding the already overburdened shelters.

To sign up for the TNR program please contact the Spay Neuter Hotline at 602-265-7729 (SPAY) or visit

For more information on feral cats visit The Foundation for Homeless Cats at