The trap, neuter and return program, TNR, is gaining popularity across the country. Why? Because it is the most humane way to stop the reproduction cycle in feral colonies. Lee County is one of the participating counties in the TNR program.
Here is how it works:
A feral colony can be recognized by the presence of cats outside that are skittish, afraid, aggressive, and just looking for food, and a warm place to sleep. Once a colony has been found, traps can be borrowed from Lee County Animal Services. There is a $75 deposit required, but it is returned when the traps are returned to Lee County Animal Services. These traps are safe for the cats, and allow the Animal Services employees to treat the cats with less potential of personal harm. Animal services also requires an appointment for the number of cats you think will be trapped.
The kitties need to be trapped the night prior to the appointment. Once they are trapped, move them to a quiet, sheltered area and cover the trap so the cat will stay calm. No food or water can be given to them after midnight the night prior to surgery. There is paperwork that needs to be filled out, and you can save time in the morning if you pick it up when you pick up the traps. Otherwise, you will need to fill it out once you get there with the cats. Drop off time at Animal Services is at 8:00 in the morning in the blue building, marked Spay and Neuter Clinic.
The vets at Animal Services will do the surgery, give a rabies vaccine, insert a microchip and tip their ear as a universal symbol that the cat has been through the TNR program. Pick up time is between 3:00 and 3:30 in the afternoon. They ask that you hold the cat in the trap or a cage until the following day for a male, and up to 3 days for a female to ensure that they are fully awake and into the healing process before releasing them.
When you take a cat in through the TNR program, you are agreeing to continue to feed, water and care for the animal outside. No license is required for a TNR cat, but basis needs must be met.
TNR cats are protected through the county and the state of Florida. Harming or killing a TNR cat is against the law in Florida! We have provided a link to the TNR program through the Lee County Animal Services website. You can contact us with questions, or email Animal Services directly. We have also included a link to our email, if you are interested in helping with the TNR program. We need to assemble teams of volunteers willing to trap, transport, and recuperate TNR cats. Please if you have some free time and would like to be a part of a great program, email us soon.