Mass Trapping

Bryan Kortis, Executive Director
Colony & Community Solutions
Today’s topics:
1. Effective advocacy – persuading
officials to try TNR
2. Effective implementation of TNR on
the colony level - Mass Trapping
3. Effective implementation of TNR on
the community level - essential
elements of a program
What is “TNR”?
Feral cat population control method
1. Trapping members of feral colony
2. Neutering (and rabies vaccination &
3. Return of ferals to original site
4. Long-term caretaking/monitoring
Effective advocacy requires:
(a) presenting TNR as primarily an animal
control issue (not a humane one)
(b) being able to explain persuasively why
TNR works while other methods fail
(c) establishing that the community has a
feral cat overpopulation problem
Popular failed alternatives:
1. Trap and remove
(whether to
euthanize, relocate
or rescue)
2. Feeding bans
3. Do nothing
Trap and remove fails because:
• Habitat remains unchanged (food, shelter)
• Surrounding colonies and/or newly
abandoned cats move in (“vacuum effect”)
• Untrapped cats in the colony overbreed
• Insufficient animal control resources
• Caretaker resistance
Feeding bans fail because:
• Bans are almost always unenforceable
• Cats remain in the territory
• Cats still reproduce even if deprived of
• Sick cats lead to parasitic infestations &
Doing nothing fails because:
• Habitat continues to support population
• Population control becomes “natural”:
disease, fighting, traffic, etc.
• Nuisance behavior continues unabated
TNR is effective because:
1. Takes habitat into account (not creating
2. Eliminates reproductive capacity, leading
to gradual attrition
3. Gains caretaker cooperation
4. Attracts volunteers & resources (life
5. Provides long-term monitoring system
Building the case for a new approach:
1. Local shelter intake and euthanasia rates (and
$$ spent),
2. Complaint calls
3. Anecdotal evidence – letters, petitions,
speakers at town meetings
4. Reasonable estimate of numbers
5. Use the Neighborhood Cats “Sample TNR
Policy Presentation” – free download at: (scroll down page)
Mass Trapping: effectively using
TNR on the colony level
What is it?
The TNR of an entire feral cat colony at
Why use it?
• Immediate population control
• Rapid reduction of nuisance behavior
• More efficient and easier than “one at a
Mass Trapping: Preparatory Steps
1. Establish a feeding
pattern & count the cats
2. Secure a holding space if
necessary (5-6 days)
3. Schedule spay/neuter
4. Secure needed
equipment, volunteers &
5. Arrange emergency vet
care (if possible)
Mass Trapping: Catching the Cats
1. Withhold food the entire day before
(unless severe weather, then for 24 hrs.)
2. Leave at least two days for trapping
3. Prepare all the traps at once
4. Use more than one kind of bait
Catching the Cats (cont’d)
5. Tape cardboard on the trip
plates (right)
6. Tuck sheets under
7. Place all traps out at once
8. Cover and remove
trapped cat only if upset
9. Replace trap that worked
– “hot spots”
10. Log by trap #, description
and colony
Mass Trapping: Caring for Trapped Cats
Holding Space
Warm, dry & secure
Line floor & tables with plastic
Keep cats covered
Feeding & Cleaning
Use trap dividers aka “isolators
(Tru-catch model TD-2 )
Line floor with newspaper
Do one end, then the other (must
have traps with rear doors)
Twice a day
Mass Trapping – the Release
• 48 hours recovery
time recommended
• 24 acceptable for
males, 72 for females
• Lactating females can
still nurse post-spay
Mass Trapping - Resources
1. “How to Perform a Mass Trapping” – 32
minute VHS video produced by Neighborhood
2. “The Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook: A
Guide to Trap-Neuter-Return for the Feral
Cat Caretaker” – 109 page manual
Available as a set for $24.95:
ASPCA’s Imagine Humane: Innovation Bank –
complete description of Neighborhood Cats’ mass
trapping program
Go to, then do a search for “Imagine
Humane Neighborhood Cats”
Community TNR Program – Essential Elements
• TNR group or organization, preferably
• Program Coordinator
• Municipal approval or at least “benign
• Funding (can be caretaker-financed to
Funding model – Long Beach, NY
Caretaker pays veterinary costs - $50
per cat
Caretaker takes a training workshop
and leads the trapping - $25 per cat
Caretaker reports colony and helps
only re: feeding & info – no cost (if and
when funding is available)
Priority given to caretaker-financed projects
Community TNR Program – Essential Elements
Field Work
Low cost spay/neuter
Traps and dividers
Trappers (which may require workshops)
Program Coordinator
- authorizes projects, communicates with
- arranges/authorizes vet appointments
- arranges trappers, volunteers, holding
space, transportation
Community TNR Program – Essential Elements
Caretaker Incentives
• Protection of cats from seizure / return of
eartipped cats
• Food drives
Highly Recommended
• Colony registration database (but only if
managed by the 501(c)(3) and locations and
names are guaranteed confidentiality)
• Follow “70% Rule” (preferably “90%”!)
Community TNR Program –
• “The Nuts & Bolts of a Community-wide
TNR Program” – transcribed lecture by
Bryan Kortis, Neighborhood Cats
• “Sample Training Workshop Outline”
Both can be downloaded for no cost at
National Feral Cat Summit
• Saturday, October 15,
• Philadelphia, PA
(Wyndham Hotel)
• Registration = $40
• For complete program
and registration info,
please go to: