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They have a home

the outdoors

Why does TNR work?

Feral cats are the same species as domestic cats but they have had little to no contact with humans. They are fearful of people and cannot be adopted. This is not the ideal scenario for any domestic animal, but there is a simple way that the Rescue can help them: Trap-Neuter-Return. This program ends reproduction, stabilizes feral cat populations, improves individual cats’ lives and curbs the spread of infectious disease. The behaviors and stresses associated with mating, pregnancy, yowling, and fighting, are reduced or stop entirely.

Feral cats that come through our TNR program receive the

following medical services, on a one time basis only:

  • spay/neuter

  • vaccinated with the 3 year rabies vaccine and FVRCP vaccine

  • physical exam

  • ear-tip for identification

  • Microchip

  • pain medication

  • additional medical intervention as needed at time of initial entry


The TNR program is free of charge, but the availability of the

program is dependent on funding to cover the costs.

What is a feral Cat?

"What is a feral cat?"

Feral cats are outdoor, free-roaming cats who have never been socialized to humans and are living in a “wild” state. Feral cats look like regular domestic housecats, but because they have never been socialized, they are very fearful and distrustful of humans. Some may arch their backs and hiss or show aggression; others avoid eye contact and just run. True ferals cannot be picked up or handled. Very often, you can’t even get close to them without weeks and months of building trust through feeding and patience. Think of feral cats like foxes, but less suited to living completely unassisted in the “wild.”


What is a Stray Cat?

"What is a stray cat?"

Stray cats are former pets who have either been abandoned or have “strayed” from home and become lost. Stray cats are generally tame and may be handled. These cats used to be cared for by an owner, but are now homeless and trying to survive on their own on the streets. Stray cats may be skittish or frightened and run away from people. Generally though, stray cats will want human contact and will exhibit similar temperaments as pet cats, especially with time. Stray cats can, and should be, rescued off the streets and placed into adoptive loving homes.

Why does TNR work?

"Why does TNR work?"

Spaying and neutering the cats will end the cycle of homeless kittens being born so the population stabilizes and, over time, it reduces naturally. Once the cats are fixed, the problematic behaviours of howling, cat fighting and spraying also subside. Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane way to effectively reduce the community cat population so that people and feral cats can peacefully co-exist.

Can I just trap the cats and move them to a farm?

"Can I trap a cat and move them to a barn?"

Trap and remove does not work.

Cats are in a specific environment for two main reasons:

1) there is a food source (intended or not)  

2) there is some sort of shelter.


When cats are removed from a location, it creates a “vacuum” effect — meaning the surrounding cats breed rapidly to fill in the gap. This vacuum effect is well documented and often results even more unsterilized cats than when you started. Often, the cats who are displaced to another location have difficulty finding food, shelter and water, and may try to return to the original location.

Can't Shelters find homes for them?

"Can't shelters find home for them?"

Most shelters are a death sentence for community cats, because feral cats are deemed unadoptable and are euthanized. Very young kittens may be rehabilitated by the shelter, but this is not a guarantee and the stress of being separated from their mother at such as a young age can be medically devastating for them.

What if we just ignore them?

"What if we just ignore them?"

If you ignore the cats, they will continue to breed, rapidly and prolifically. Cats can start having litters when they’re only five months old. They can have three to four litters a year, usually of five to six kittens per litter (although several may not survive). If you just ignore the situation, in a short time you can easily go from three or four cats to dozens. Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane, effective solution to control the homeless cat population.

I want the TNR program to help me with a cat

"I want the TNR program to help me with a cat?"

Owned cats are not eligible for any of our services. The City of Ottawa has a spay/neuter clinic that offers services at a reduced rate for owned cats, and vet clinics located outside of the city are often less expensive. Please visit the City of Ottawa’s website for more information.

Before you can utilize our program for a homeless cat, we first require an application. Once we receive your application, the TNR Coordinator will email you, usually within 72 hours, to get you started. They can loan you humane traps and other equipment as needed. They will also provide you with important humane trapping and aftercare instructions that you’ll need to read and be familiar with prior to trapping.

What if the cat is pregnant

"What if the cat is pregnant?"

It is often safe to spay a cat even if she is pregnant. The pregnancy will be humanely aborted. While later term pregnancies pose a slightly higher surgical risk, our veterinarians are highly experienced. If a cat is too far along to spay, our vet will make that determination. Another option is to hold the feral mother in one of our temporary feral safe houses until the kittens are 5-6 weeks old and then spay and return the mother while socializing the kittens and finding them homes.

Can I start trapping during winter?

"Can I start trapping during winter?"

Our TNR program does not operate in the winter because the cats can be stressed from the TNR, and are shaved for surgery, making it more difficult for them to keep warm. However, cats do not breed much in the winter (they are too busy trying to stay alive), so it is best to wait for spring. The best thing you can do for feral cats in the winter is to help keep them alive by providing dry kibble, fresh water (heated dog bowls are a great way to provide liquid water even in the coldest weather), and shelter.

I want to help!

"I want to help!"

That's great news!

TNR is a community-based program. It involves concerned citizens, like you, trapping feral, free-roaming cats in your neighborhood, bringing them to a clinic or program to get them spayed or neutered, and then returning the cats to the exact spot where they were trapped.

We would not be able to help cats in need without people like you!

Fill out an application below

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