Familiarize yourself with the Trap-Neuter-Return process and plan your trapping day in advance. Throughout all of your trapping endeavors, plan ahead to ensure the safety and well-being of the cats and reduce your own stress.
- Coordinate with other caregivers who may be feeding the cats, and prepare the cats for trapping by feeding on a schedule and in a designated feeding area.
- Determine how many traps and neuter appointments you will need to schedule after assessing the colony.
- Determine a safe, temperature-controlled location where you will be able to hold the cats after surgery while they recover.
- Gather and prepare all of the appropriate equipment and understand how it all works ahead of time—and practice! It is important to test all traps, to ensure that the trip plate works.
- Withhold food 24 hours before trapping, and you are ready to start trapping.
Go to our Before You Trap section to read these details in more depth.
- On the day-of, prepare the traps by lining the bottom with newspaper, tagging with a location description, and baiting.
- Set the traps and watch them from afar.
- Once a cat is trapped, cover the trap - this will help keep the cat calm.
- Ahead of time, learn how to deal with particularly hard-to-trap cats.
- After securing the traps in your vehicle, head to the veterinarian or clinic for surgeries that day or the following day.
Go to our Trapping section to learn more about these steps. Watch Alley Cat Allies’ trapping video for a run-through of a successful trap-day.
- After surgery (learn more about the surgery in our veterinary section), keep the cats in the trap at all times.
- Transport the cats safely back to your secure, indoor location where cats will be in a temperature-controlled environment, dry, and away from danger.
- Monitor the cats for any illness.
- For your safety and the cats keep them in their covered cages at all times.
- Feed the cats eight hours or so after surgery and return the cats, following the guidelines in the Post-Surgery section.
- Return the cats to the exact location where they were trapped.
- Clean the traps.
Go to our Post-Surgery section to understand all of the steps you must take after the cats visit the veterinarian or clinic.
A key part of carrying out Trap-Neuter-Return is to establish a friendly dialogue with neighborhood residents and address any possible concerns. Go to our People and Cats section and our Community Relations Center to learn more.
Next Step: Before You Trap