Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) Feral Cats
A feral / community / free roaming cat is one that lives outside and is not socialized to humans. Feral cats can live long, healthy lives, content in their managed colonies, where they have access to food, water and shelter. However, an unmanaged colony can become a problem, with rampant breeding and the onset of problem mating behaviors. TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and well managed colonies improve the quality of life for humans and animals in our community. All the cats in the TNR program receive Rabies and FVRCP vaccines, de-wormer and are ear tipped to let future trappers know that a cat has already been spayed or neutered.
After the sun sets across Manatee County, a dedicated group of animal advocates cross the county in a loosely organized effort to provide care for the thousands of feral / free roaming cats, these caretakers and trappers are dedicated to their mission.
The Trap-Neuter-Return program (TNR) is the humane solution to controlling the population of feral / free roaming cats in Manatee County. This method has been endorsed by national animal welfare groups, as well as many animal services departments, as the best option for feral cats and the communities they inhabit. TNR stabilizes the colony size by eliminating new litters. It also reduces the nuisance behavior associated with unsterilized cats. TNR’s most measurable effect is that fewer cats/kittens flow through animal shelters.
The Humane Society of Manatee County has supported the TNR program by providing low cost or no cost spay and neuter services, vaccines and de-worming for our community’s feral cat population. An enclosure at the rear of our veterinary clinic, the Feral Cat Porch is the holding area for trapped cats awaiting surgery and is also where the cats await being picked up after their surgeries. This contained and secure outdoor enclosure closely replicates the cat’s natural surroundings and keeps stress levels of the cats at a minimum.
In the interest of giving feral / free roaming cats the very best medical attention possible, we have created TRAPPER TUESDAY for feral cats in our veterinary clinic.
All feral cats must come to the HSMC Veterinary Clinic, located at 2415 14th Street West, Bradenton, FL, in a secure, live-release trap. This is for the well-being of the cats, as well as for the safety of our staff. Cats in carriers or boxes will not be accepted for this program. If you don’t have a trap, please contact us at 941-747-8808 x 302 to see when one can be made available.
If you need to borrow traps, they can be rented at the Humane Society of Manatee County Veterinary Clinic with a $65 deposit using a check or debit/credit card information. When you return the clean trap, your deposit will be refunded to you.
Feral cats can be admitted to the clinic all day Monday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and before 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. In the event the cat is not sterilized on Tuesday, it will be fed and safely maintained until the surgery can be completed, normally the following day.
Typically, Trapper Tuesday is held every week, although occasionally it is rescheduled. While “appointments” are not required, please call us to verify dates to insure we will have surgical capacity the week you plan to trap. Once you are in our database with an email address, you will be personally notified if Trapper Tuesday is being rescheduled for any week. We are also aware that some cats just do not cooperate with Trapper Tuesday. If you have an “uncooperative” kitty, please contact us and we will help you work with that cat’s schedule.
The feral cats will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated with Rabies and an FVRCP vaccine, and given a general de-wormer. Occasionally, there may be grant funds available to pay for the services listed. Please ask us at the time of check in. You can elect to purchase a Microchip for the cat for a nominal charge of $15.00. The microchip is a life-time registered microchip with no additional fees to update information.
Once the surgery has been completed, the clinic will notify the individual that dropped off the cat with a pickup time. Ideally, feral cats will be picked up between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the day after their surgery.
In calendar year 2018, 1,300 feral / free roaming cats were spayed and neutered at our veterinary clinic, many of those services were provided at no charge, thanks to grants and donations. If you are interested in supporting the Trap-Neuter-Return program you can donate online at humanemanatee.org-donate or mail a check to:
HSMC – TNR Program
2515 14th Street W.
Bradenton, FL 34205
In addition to monetary donations, we accept donations of wet cat food, litter and live traps. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer trapper or would like more information about our TNR program please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 941-747-8808 Option #1.