Feral Cat Spay/Neuter (TNR)
Pets Lifeline works to humanely control the feral cat population in Sonoma Valley through TNR. TNR stands for TRAP, NEUTER, RETURN, where the goal is to trap, alter, and release these cats BEFORE they breed. This is a FREE service, though donations are greatly appreciated.
What are feral cats?
Feral cats can have many names: community cats, tomcats, and free-roaming cats are just a few of the most common. These cats do not have an owner in the traditional sense that the cat is considered a pet and usually are not socialized to humans. All of them have one thing in common: they intermingle with other cats (both feral and outdoor pet cats) and breed.
Why spay/neuter feral cats?
We desperately need to REDUCE the numbers of homeless kittens that come into PLL's shelter throughout the year. An uncontrolled feral cat population is both unhealthy and inhumane. Disease and parasites can cause serious illness or death to cats (and especially new kittens) if allowed to propagate uncontrolled. Furthermore, altered cats are less likely to fight, keeping both the colony and outdoor pet cats safer.
In order to accomplish this, we need help from members of our community. There are three ways you can help:
DONATE to help fund the critical spay/neutering of these animals.
VOLUNTEER to trap feral cats where you live so they can be spayed/neutered.
CONTACT US if you think you have feral cats near your home and for advice on managing a colony.
Trapping a Feral Cat
Pets Lifeline rents out humane traps to anyone in Sonoma Valley wanting to participate in our TNR program. A deposit of $50 is required to rent a trap, and this deposit is returned when the trap is brought back to Pets Lifeline. We also have volunteer trappers to assist with trapping if needed.
Trapping procedures and guidelines are attached below. Please refer to these when trapping cats to minimize stress for the cats and maximize success. Feral cats that have already been spayed/neutered have a clipped ear, which is meant to make them easily identifiable. Do not trap feral cats that already have a clipped ear. The Feral Cat Colony Report is available for download. You can print, fill out this form, and return it to us so we can assess your situation and decide how we can best work with you.
What is included?
Pets Lifeline's feral spay/neuter package includes: spay/neuter surgery, ear tip, microchip*, rabies vaccination, FVRCP vaccination, flea control, and ear mite treatment. Pets Lifeline will also house feral cats overnight for recovery if you do not have a way to keep them confined overnight. Any donation you can make will help us offset the cost of this service.
*if you do not want a feral cat you have trapped to be microchipped, you must tell staff upon intake.
Once altered, feral cats are able to live out their lives under the supervision of a colony caretaker, without adding to the feral cat population. All they need is food and water, and a watchful eye to see if any new cats come along that have not been altered. Pets Lifeline can help provide food to keep these kitties fed.
If you have any questions, or to report feral cats, call us at 707.996.4577 and press 1 to reach the Adoption Center.
The feral cats pictured here are from the Dechene Colony in Sonoma. More than 25 cats from this colony were spayed/neutered in 2020-2021. Notice that these particular cats have ear tips - they have already been spayed/neutered!