Neighborhood Cat Assistance: Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Trap-Neuter-Return services improve the lives of cats living outdoors in our region's neighborhoods and support their compassionate caretakers. If you see a cat outdoors, it doesn't always mean the same thing. Please call 530-587-5948 for more information on what to do when you find a cat or a kitten outdoors.

TNR Program Policies

This program is designed to minimize stress for feral and community cats. The policies in place are supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association as best practices. If you have questions, please ask! The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe (HSTT) will provide all of the support you need to be a successful community cat caregiver.

  • Do NOT attempt to catch cats by hand, with a net, or any other method, except a feral cat trap.
  • Attempting to catch cats without a feral cat trap places cats at a higher risk of injury, under extreme and unnecessary stress, and places you at risk of bites, scratches, and other injuries.
  • Cat bites are very serious, and Rabies laws in California require quarantine & follow-up.
  • To participate in this program, you must avoid cat bites by following safety protocols carefully and completely.
  • If you are unsure how to use a live trap to catch a feral, HSTT has all of the information and equipment you will need for everything to go smoothly and safely.
  • The qualifying feral or community cat will undergo a spay/neuter operation which requires the use of anesthesia. Additionally, while under anesthesia the cat will receive an ear-tipping procedure, the universally recognized symbol that a cat has been spayed/neutered & vaccinated. Because cats are ear-tipped while they’re under anesthesia for spay or neuter surgery, everything is safe, clean, and painless. The ear heals quickly and no further attention is needed. This method is the humane alternative to repeat-trapping, transporting and anesthetizing feral and community cats, which over time can trigger illness, injury and even death. It also preserves resources provided by humane organizations, community members, and medical personnel who participate in TNR programs.
  • Harder-to-trap cats will require patience and consistent methods. Please contact Kara from HSTT at 530-582-2463 or for tips and tricks on trapping weary cats.

Trapping Community Cats

  • Ideally, cats should be trapped the night before surgery, and safely moved to a transfer cage lined with newspaper, then covered completely with a sheet.
    • If unable to move to approved transfer cage, cover the trap completely with a sheet, place newspaper under it, and put it safely inside.
  • Cats must be in an approved transfer cage or cat trap in order to be seen.
  • Cats over four months old should have food withdrawn at midnight the night before surgery. This ensures that the animal's stomach is empty by the time he's put under general anesthesia. This lessens the chances that the animal will vomit and aspirate the vomit into his lungs.
  • Pediatric animals (4 months or younger) should have food available until 6:00AM on the morning of surgery. This helps to avoid decreased blood sugar level. Kittens must weigh at least 2 pounds and be at least 8 weeks old.  Younger or lighter animals will be declined for surgery, for their safety
  • Water should not be withdrawn prior to surgery.
  • Do not attempt to move or care for cats without proper equipment. For extensive information on how to safely provide food, water, and humane care for cats in traps please visit
  • Feral cats will undergo a spay/neuter operation which requires the use of anesthesia. Additionally, Rabies & FVRCP vaccinations will be administered age permitting, and ear-tipping will be performed.
  • Every procedure is included and required in order to participate in the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Program.

How to Participate

1) Fill out and submit an online application. An application must be completed by the community cat caretaker.

2) Participants who will be seen at the Truckee Animal Shelter must have an appointment before attempting to trap any cats.

3) Appointments will be held when cats are comfortably eating out of un-set live traps, to ensure that the limited surgery spots are fulfilled.

4) Participants who receive a free voucher are responsible for making appointment arrangements in accordance with the Veterinary Hospital accepting TNR patient(s).