Clipped Ear .jpg
Clipped Ear .jpg

Left Ear Tipped

Trap-Neuter-Return

Community Cats

How You Can Help Community Cats: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trap-Neuter Return

Community cats are un-owned cats that live outdoors in the community. They may be feral or friendly, may have been born into the wild, or may be lost or abandoned pets.

Stray or free-roaming cats that are friendly and would do well in a home are made available for adoption or placed in our adoption preparation programs. Feral cats that would not be appropriate or happy as pets are sterilized, ear-tipped, vaccinated, and released in the same outdoor location where they were found.

If there are stray or feral cats in your community that need sterilization surgery, you can participate in our Community Cats program by trapping and helping keep the population under control by Trap-Neuter-Return.  

Snippet Low-Cost Veterinary Clinic works to improve the lives of free-roaming and feral cats in our community and reduce the unnecessary euthanasia of healthy cats that are not suitable for adoption.

Community cats are un-owned cats that live outdoors in the community. They may be feral or friendly, may have been born into the wild, or may be lost or abandoned pets.

Stray or free-roaming cats that are friendly and would do well in a home or could be made available for adoption through an animal shelter and rescue group. Feral cats would not be appropriate or happy as pets so they are sterilized, ear-tipped, vaccinated, and released in the same outdoor location where they were found (TNR).

If there are stray or feral cats in your community that need sterilization surgery, you can participate in our Community Cats TNR program by trapping and transporting community cats to our clinic. We are a community cat friendly clinic and understand that trapping these cats cannot always occur on a specific schedule. Please call us at 352-419-4439 to make arrangements for surgery drop-off upon the successful trapping of the cat. Targeted outreach trapping events should be scheduled in advance.

Community Cats FAQs
Why return feral cats to the community?
Removing these cats from the community doesn't eliminate the nuisances they create and actually encourages cat populations to steadily grow. When you return cats that have been sterilized, they continue to use resources but are unable to reproduce, decreasing the free-roaming cat population over time. Sterilization also reduces problematic behaviors like fighting and spraying. Euthanizing healthy, feral cats is no longer supported.

Will community cats suffer if we return them?
Under this program, only cats that are thriving are returned to their environment. If the cat is healthy, we know it has found a food source and shelter, just as other wild animals have.

What about winter time?
While it’s hard to imagine living outdoors during winter, we know cats have adapted and manage to survive year round. Similar programs have been successfully implemented in all types of climates across the U.S. and Canada.

Don’t outdoor cats kill birds and wildlife?
Although community cats often hunt to survive, this program will reduce the impact on birds and wildlife by gradually decreasing the cat population over time.

What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?
A feral cat is primarily wild-raised or has adapted to feral life, while a stray cat is a domesticated pet who is lost or abandoned. Stray pet cats are usually tame and accustomed to contact with people. They will frequently seek out human contact and exhibit behaviors such as meowing or purring. In contrast, feral cats are notably quiet and keep their distance from people. Stray cats will also often try to make a home near humans — in car garages, front porches or backyards.

General differences in appearance and behavior include:

Stray cat:

May approach you
May approach food right away
May be vocal
May be seen at all hours of the day

Feral cat:

Will not approach you
Will wait until you move away before approaching food
Will be silent
May be seen at dawn and dusk, seeking food

I found a feral cat, what do I do?
First, look to see if the cat already has a tipped ear. Feral cats who have been through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program will usually have a tipped ear, which is a universal symbol used to identify neutered free-roaming cats. The most common type of ear tip is a flat quarter-inch taken from the top of the left ear, which is painlessly performed surgically while the cat is sedated for spay/neuter. Ear-tipped cats have already been sterilized and rabies vaccinated, and can be left where they are found. If no ear tip is present, this cat is most likely not sterilized, and you can help by participating in a TNR Program.

What should I do if I find a cat with a tipped ear?
A tipped ear indicates that the cat has already been sterilized and vaccinated, so you can simply leave that cat alone.

What do I do with the cat once I have it in the trap?
Cover the trap with a towel or blanket to help calm the cat, and move the trap to a safe area protected from the weather if necessary. Call us at 352-419-4439 to let us know that you have a cat in a live trap, and we will set up a walk-in appointment for you. Please note that for the safety of yourself, the cat, and our staff, feral cats must arrive in humane live traps. If you choose to use your own live trap, we will need to keep it until the cat is ready to be released.

What services do community cats receive?
A community cat is sedated, spayed or neutered, given a rabies vaccine and an eartip to help identify him or her as a sterilized cat. Our staff will then call the finder to pick up and return the cat to the trapping location.

How much will this cost?
$35.00, however, TNR grants and sponsorships may be available to cover the costs.