Trap Neuter Return

Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

 Our Mobile Spay Neuter clinic is here!

Group of wild black, gray stripped cats

Launched in summer of 2016, the clinic will enable us to address feral cat colonies in rural areas across the province, by spaying /neutering feral cats close to where they live.  We hope this will help reduce the cycle of unwanted breeding and the stress that causes on feral cats and on shelters and rescues constantly rescuing kittens from these situations.

The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that successful management of the feral cat population can be done through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Population Control Programs. The objective of Trap-Neuter-Return is to gradually eliminate colonies by a process of “aging out.” Feral cats are humanely trapped, neutered, ear tipped and then returned to their colony.

This Mobile Clinic was made possible through generous bequests by the late Dr. Susan Roberts, and Eleanor Dyke.  The day to day expenses and operating costs of the mobile clinic comes from fundraising and bequests, donations are always needed to help us continue to operate!

Through a grant provided by HRM, rescue groups, volunteers, citizens and the Nova Scotia SPCA came together to launch a TNR program across the municipality.  A grant from HRM helped with the costs while supplies have been provided by Spay Day HRM and the Nova Scotia SPCA through fundraising efforts.

Many are aware there are thousands of homeless cats but it is important that we gather actual data to determine just how big the problem is and where the colonies exist.  It is important that we identify the locations of cat colonies and their caretakers from around the Province so we can collaborate with individuals and other cat rescue groups to better work together supporting cats in need.

Sponsor a single Feral cat spay/neuter surgery or gather a group and fundraise to bring the Mobile Spay/Neuter clinic to an area in need in your community.

Funds raised provide the medical supplies needed to spay/neuter up to 25 cats!   Donate today or contact us to inquire about Sponsorship opportunities.  Your donation will help a colony like the one pictured below, this is an actual colony in Nova Scotia that needs your help today!

To report feral cats in need of assistance please fill out the TNR request form below.  You can contact us at or 844-835-4798, for any questions regarding this initiative.

How does TNR work?

Feral cats are trapped using humane (live) traps, they are then spayed or neutered and released within one day of recovering.  The process can be stressful for them but having them spayed or neutered provides them many benefits to their lives to the community.

Cats who are spayed or neutered are better neighbours.  Citizens will find less spraying and reduced smell from intact males, less fighting over female cats and elimination of new kittens being born.  Over time a feral colonies numbers will reduce through natural attrition.

Kittens that are within the critical window for domestication are removed, socialized and adopted. Returning the sterilized cat to its colony is crucial to reducing the colony size as new members will not join a feral cat colony with a stable number of neutered cats. Trap-Neuter-Return Population Control Programs maintain the colony in a healthy and secure state leading up to the eventual attrition of members. The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that not feeding feral cats is not the solution because starving cats will still mate. Concerned residents who are interested in providing food for or managing colonies are encouraged to contact us, and together with local Rescue groups we can provide advice and support.

For more detailed information on TNR process and feral (community) cats check out Alley Cat Allies.

Position Statement on Feral Cats

The Nova Scotia SPCA believes ignoring the feral cat problem is inhumane. The Nova Scotia SPCA advocates the humane treatment of all cats including those that are stray and those that have become feral. A “feral” cat is one that has never had contact with humans and that is the offspring of abandoned or unaltered free-roaming cats. Feral cats are at least one generation removed from domestication and therefore, if not sufficiently socialized with humans by a certain age – typically 6 weeks old – may not suitable candidates for adoption. Recognizing the over-population crisis of companion animals in the Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia SPCA supports public and private humane efforts in controlling feral cat colonies and their population.

What is an Ear Tip?

Eartipping is an effective and universally accepted method to identify a spayed or neutered community cat. Eartipping is the removal of the distal one-quarter of a cat’s left ear, which is approximately 3/8 inch, or 1 cm, in an adult and proportionally smaller in a kitten.

This procedure is performed under sterile conditions while the cat is already anesthetized for spay or neuter surgery. There is little or no bleeding, it is relatively painless to the cat, and the eartip does not significantly alter the appearance or beauty of the cat.

Eartipping is the preferred method to identify spayed or neutered and vaccinated community cats, because it is difficult to get close to them and therefore the identification must be visible from a distance. Community cats may interact with a variety of caregivers, veterinarians, and animal control personnel during their lives and so immediate visual identification is necessary to prevent an unnecessary second trapping and surgery.

Credit: Alley Cat Allies

Volunteers & Donations Needed

Trap Neuter Return initiatives requires the support of the community.

Volunteers spend countless hours using live (humane) traps to gather cats needing spay/neuter to bring to our mobile spay/neuter days.

You can help by volunteering your time.  Volunteers will be needed to assist with trapping, transporting cats, and caring for cats while they recover from surgery.  Apply to become a volunteer through our website here.

Donations are also required, especially cat food and monetary donations.   Cat food donations can be dropped off at any of our Shelters or contact us for other drop off locations.

Build and donate an outdoor shelter to keep feral cats warm this winter season! Some options can be found here:

Mobile Spay Neuter Clinic Wish List:

  • Live (Humane) traps any size. Available at any hardware store.
  • Transfer cages. Available online through WCS Canada
  • Wet cat food
  • Cans of Tuna, Chicken or Sardines used when setting traps to catch a cat.
  • Donations of Dry cat food to support Caretakers of a colony.
  • Cat Carriers (new or used)
  • Large wire dog crates (for temporary housing of cats awaiting spay/neuter surgery).
  • Monetary donations to sponsor a spay/neuter surgery. Donate online today

TNR and Rescue Group partnerships

Working together with local rescue groups across the province we can make the most improvement in the welfare of the Feral cat population throughout Spay/Neuter.

We are always looking to develop new partnerships to help us reach more areas and help more caretakers and feral cats.

We ask rescue groups abide by the following protocols

  • Quick release after surgery – depending on weather of course cats should be released between 12 to 48 hours after surgery. The most common complications after a spay/neuter surgery are caused by stress, the best we can do for a feral is keep them stress free and the only way to do that is to return them to their colony.
  • Cats must be released back to their home colony, unless you have secured a new caregiver willing to take them in and provide a transitional period and ongoing care, such as a barn home.
  • The NS SPCA does not test for Feline Leukemia orFIV for every feral cat, this is in line with the position statement by Alley Cat Allies.  We believe that when dealing with limited funding the best action is to use funding towards Spay/neuter services over other medical procedures.  Also once a cat is spayed or neutered the chance of transmitting any illness is drastically reduced as the diseases mentioned are primarily spread through fighting or breeding activities, both of which are prevented through spay/neuter.
  • The NS SPCA will perform an ear tip for all cats trapped, this is essential for visual identification of a fixed feral cat and is mandatory so we can save everyone time in the future once the cat is released.
TNR Program Button - Programs and Services Page

Identify A Cat Colony

Please pass this link on to anyone who might be interested in identifying a colony and complete this questionnaire for each new colony you wish to identify. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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