(Spay Our Strays)
This program was implemented to prevent the continuing problem of cat overpopulation and the shelter intake of feral or un-owned community cats in Lee County for euthanasia. In the past all feral cats entering Lee County Domestic Animal Services (LCDAS) were euthanized. Now a non-lethal, more humane solution is offered – Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR). This method is considered to be the most effective way to improve the quality of life for feral cats; reduce their numbers; and address wildlife, public health, and environmental issues attributed to feral cats.
The process involves:
1. Contacting LCDAS via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 533-9234 to schedule an appointment(s). This is a free service; however, donations are greatly appreciated to offset veterinary costs. We encourage caretakers to accept a feral cat or two in need of a home into their existing colony. Additional services are offered for a fee and include FIV/FELV testing - $15, flea treatment - $10, and de-worming - $10.
2. Feral cats must be housed in approved humane traps that can be borrowed with a refundable deposit from LCDAS. Please note the caretaker may bring carriers to their surgery appointment to transport the feral cats home after surgery leaving the humane trap at LCDAS. Proper trapping will be explained by staff members if necessary when picking up borrowed traps. Please note all cats must be housed in approved humane traps for the safety of our staff – no exceptions.
3. Place a towel or blanket over the trap when the cat is caught to keep it calm during transport for surgery. Click here for more info and to view a picture of the required covering over the trap.
4. Feral cats are sterilized, vaccinated for rabies, implanted with a microchip, left ear-tipped (the universal sign the TNR program), and returned to their colony. If the caretaker does not wish for the ear to be tipped, regular sterilization fees of $75 will apply. LCDAS recommends not releasing feral sterilized cats until the following afternoon to provide recovery from the effects of anesthesia. Please be sure to utilize a safe and comfortable place for recovery until being released the following day. There should be no food or water given until the following day to prevent vomiting and choking. Please be advised that to prevent suffering from non-treatable injuries or illness feral cats may be humanely euthanized which is determined by the licensed veterinarian.
5. The dedicated caretakers provide on-going care (food, water, shelter, and medical attention) and trap newcomers for TNR.
6. No licensing is required and no impoundment or daily board fees are charged if the cat is returned to the caretaker through detection of the microchip.
What are the benefits of TNR? With TNR there are no more kittens. The colony numbers are gradually reduced and annoying behaviors of mating cats such as yowling, fighting, and urine marking stop. But most of all it saves lives since there are not enough homes for all the kittens born each year.
Why Eradication Doesn’t Work! Cats breed prolifically out of control and faster than you can trap for eradication. Trapping and removing cats allows for other new cats to re-populate the same area known as the "Vacuum Effect.” TNR is a more humane, non-lethal, and proven successful method of reducing cat overpopulation.
BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION BY PARTICIPATING IN OPERATION S.O.S.
Still Need Help to Deter Feral and Community Cats?
Links to helpful resources:
Cat nuisance solutions