Feral/Community Cats (TNR)

Spay Memphis accepts feral/community cats (in live, humane traps ONLY) Tuesday – Thursday between 7:30 – 8:30 am. Only one cat is allowed per trap. Feral/community cats will not be accepted in regular cat carriers or kennels – no exceptions.

Beginning March 14, only ONE feral/community cat can be brought in per person dropping off or per trapping group each day feral/community cats are accepted. 

The cost of each cat is $35 and includes the spay or neuter, rabies vaccine, pain injection, ear tip, and penicillin shot. The ear tip is mandatory for cats brought in as feral/community cats.

At this time, we do not have information for Feral Fridays. When we do, it will be posted here.

FAQ for Feral/Community Cats

♦ What is a TNR?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), the humane approach to addressing feral & community cat populations, works. It saves cats’ lives and is effective. TNR improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle. TNR improves the co-existence between outdoor cats and humans in our shared environment. TNR balances the needs and concerns of the human communities in which many feral cats live. People don’t want cats rounded up and killed. They want to see cat populations stabilized and appreciate when the mating behaviors of cats are brought into check through spaying and neutering. With TNR, adult cats—spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped—are returned to the colony to live out their lives in their outdoor home. (source: Alley Cat Allies)

♦ What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is a cat that exists in a wild or untamed state. Human contact is very stressful for them, so they often become aggressive or extremely fearful. They usually live in colonies near any food source they can find; in neighborhoods, alleyways, apartment complexes, behind restaurants, on college/hospital campuses, etc.

Feral/community/stray cats can be dangerous to handle since so many are unsocialized and should be handled as such with care and respect. That is why we require all feral/community/outside cats to be brought in for surgery in a humane trap, and they must leave in the same trap they came in. We also only allow one cat per trap.

♦ Can I bring in an outside, but friendly, cat under this program?

Yes, if you have an outside, but friendly cat (typically thought of as a community cat), we let you decide if a cat should be brought in as a feral or domestic cat. If you do decide to bring this cat in as a feral/community cat, please note that all feral cat policies still apply. If you prefer to bring an outside, but friendly cat in as a domestic cat (in a carrier or kennel), you MUST schedule an appointment for them. The cat must be in a live, humane trap (like a raccoon trap) and ear tipping is mandatory to receive feral cat pricing. Only one cat is allowed per trap. However, please do not bring your inside, house cat in with this program as it takes advantage of donor funds used to discount the cost, in addition to being extremely uncomfortable for your pet cat.

♦ How do I get a feral cat trap?

You can purchase a trap at any hardware store or rent a humane trap at our clinic for a deposit of $75, cash or check only. We CANNOT accept credit cards for the deposit. This deposit is completely refundable as long as the trap is brought back in working order. If you use a check for the deposit, this check is not cashed unless the trap is not returned. We allow 2 traps maximum to be rented per person and traps can be rented for 6 weeks. Feral cat traps can only be rented Tuesday – Friday between the hours of 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. as to not infer with our check-in and check-out times. Please note: You cannot bring a cat in a carrier or kennel, then transfer to a trap at our clinic. Cats MUST ARRIVE in a trap to be brought in as a feral/community cat.

♦ How can I make an appointment for a feral cat?

Appointments for feral cats are not accepted. We accept feral walk-ins Tuesday through Thursday between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Pick up is 4:30 pm the same afternoon.

♦ Why do you tip the feral cat’s ear?

Eartipping is the universal sign of an altered feral cat. While the cat is sedated for the spay or neuter surgery, a quarter of an inch is removed from the tip of the left ear in a straight line cut. The procedure is swift and painless, and healing is rapid. For more information on eartipping, please visit https://www.alleycat.org/resources/feral-cat-protocol-eartipping/.

♦ What if I see a cat in my neighborhood or yard?

If it is your first time seeing a specific cat in your neighborhood, MAS has great resources if you find a lost pet at https://www.memphistn.gov/animal-services/i-found-a-pet/.

If you frequently see and/or feed an outside cat in your neighborhood that is not ear-tipped or does not have identification, we first recommend asking around your neighborhood and neighborhood social media sites to see if the cat belongs to anyone. If the cat is friendly, you can also have scanned for a microchip at MAS, the Humane Society, local Memphis Fire Stations, and any veterinary clinic, including Spay Memphis, without an appointment. If your search yields no results for an owner and you are continually feeding this pet for at least 7 days (The City of Memphis Animal Ordinances defines a pet owner as any person, partnership, or corporation owning an animal; or any person who feeds, shelters, or harbors an animal or permits it to remain on the person’s property) or if this pet is determined to be a feral, community, or stray cat, we highly recommend spay/neuter to prevent overpopulation in your neighborhood.

Please note that all feral/community cats brought into our clinic are checked for a microchip under anesthesia. If one is found, no additional services will be performed and we will file a found pet alert with the trapper’s information.

♦ What to do if you have a colony of feral/community cats living in your neighborhood?

First, make sure someone is regularly feeding them and leaving clean, fresh water. If someone is taking care of them, and you are looking to stop the constant reproducing, talk to your neighbors and make a plan! You’ll need to find neighbors to help trap, transport to/from our clinic, and recover post-surgery until they can be re-released. Once you have a plan, you can set up a neighborhood TNR account at our clinic for your neighbors to donate to cover the cost of the cats’ spay/neuter. Email bpace@spaymemphis.org to set up a neighborhood account prior to bringing in any trapped cats.

♦ What if I find kittens outside?

If you find kittens outside without a mom, leave them be and wait for mom as she is most likely out looking for food. Learn more at https://www.alleycat.org/resources/found-kittens-leave-them-be-flyer/. If the mother cat does not return after a few hours, we recommend reaching out to your local animal shelter or humane society for advice.

♦ Why can’t I bring my feral/community cat in a regular cat carrier?

Feral/community cats must be brought in individual traps for a few reasons. First and most important, most feral and community cats are not friendly/socialized and if they are in a trap, they can be sedated through the trap, which is not only safer for the cat but our staff too. Second, domestic cats in carriers are moved into a kennel for the day and if you bring a feral cat in a carrier, we do not have kennel space available to move them into since they do not have an appointment. Third, requiring feral/community cats to only come in live, humane traps is standard and best practice protocol set forth by all national veterinary associations and TNR professionals.

♦ How do I take care of feral/community cats after their spay or neuter surgery?

Post-op care for feral/community cats is available at Feral Cat Post Op Care Instructions.

♦ Why do cats have to be in individual traps? 

Feral/community cats are sedated through the trap and are typically not happy about being injected. Having another cat in the trap would be potentially unsafe for another cat if they are sharing the trap. Live, humane traps are also not typically large enough for more than one adult cat to fit inside comfortably. Spay Memphis will not accept a trap with more than one cat inside the trap.

♦ Trap Example Photos (feral/community cats WILL NOT be accepted in a cat carrier or kennel):