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About Trap-Neuter-Release

What are "Community Cats"?

Cats who are not tame and are afraid of people (feral cats) or cats who are friendly but don't seem to have a human caretaker are “Community Cats”. It is everyone’s responsibility to care for our local Community Cats, prevent unwanted litters and protect their well-being.

The most humane way to manage and care for our Community Cat population is through a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program. This approach allows veterinarians to spay or neuter Community Cats while allowing them to return to the environment they call home. At Animal Services, feral cats (cats who are not tame and generally afraid of people) will be returned back to their environment. Cats who are friendly will stay with us at Animal Services and become candidates for adoption.

You’ll know a Community Cat who has been spayed or neutered already because it will have the tip of its ear removed. This is done by the surgeon while the cat is under anesthesia and is swift, painless and heals rapidly. A ‘tipped’ cat ear is a universal sign for a sterilized cat.”

How does Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) work?

We can help you with TNR. When you find a Community Cat without a tipped ear:

  1. Call us or one of our local partners to make an appointment for a Community Cat spay (for female) or neuter (for male).
  2. Carefully try to trap the cat. If you need help trapping, our partners at Forgotten Felines can help.
  3. Bring your Community Cat to your scheduled appointment
  4. Re-release the cat back into its original environment
  5. Repeat!

Why is Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) the best approach?

TNR is the only effective and humane way to stop the breeding cycle of cats while allowing cats to live out their natural lives. TNR has been in effect for decades.

Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats? The Case for TNR

The TNR approach benefits both cats and people in our community. In addition to decreasing the cat population over time, TNR helps cats and people live in harmony by mitigating feline behaviors that people typically consider a nuisance. Cats who are neutered or spayed are far less likely to fight, spray, or yowl.

Returning cats to their territories also eliminates the "vacuum effect," which occurs when removing or relocating cats. Removal of the cats invites new (unaltered) cats to move in or remaining unaltered cats to breed more.

The Vacuum Effect: Why Catch and Kill Doesn’t Work

Contact Information

Business Hours
*Dispatch Hours 8:00–5:30
Closed to public
Tuesday – Saturday
Adoption and Shelter Hours by Appointment Only
Phones 9:00AM to 5:30PM
*Dispatch Hours 8:00–5:30

*Dispatch is unable to answer financial questions. For assistance regarding licensing, billing and collection proceedings, please call during our phone hours to speak with customer relations staff. Due to high call volumes, there may be longer hold times; we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Contact us by Phone
Sonoma County Animal Services
1247 Century Ct
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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2016 Annual Report
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