Community Cats and Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

What We Believe

We believe there is an overpopulation of local Community Cats. This overpopulation not only causes our local animal shelter to use valuable resources responding to nuisance calls but it also causes many Community Cats to be euthanized. We believe we can learn to live in harmony with the Community Cats by working to reduce their population by Trap Neuter Return (TNR).

When a local trapper brings us a Community Cat, we are able to sterilize and vaccinate the cat at a low cost which not only ends reproduction but it also reduces many of the nuisance behaviors. We tip the left ear to signify that the cat has been sterilized and vaccinated. The trapper then monitors the Community Cat for 24 hours before releasing the cat back to it's original location.

REHOMING- We ONLY rehome cats that are at certain risk of death. Usually these cats are given to us by local animal shelters, as they are deemed unadoptable. Some we are able to allow to decompress and rehome to indoors, some to indoor/outdoor and some to barns. As a LAST RESORT. Not because they are a nuisance. WE LOVE CATS and we believe they are GREAT for our community, especially when our community pitches in to help control the pet population!! We believe this 100% and encourage you to work with us on TNR. Please don't attempt to guilt us into taking cats or threaten us with hurting the cats. It won't work. When we are full, we are full.

Local Experts and Resources

Experts and Resources:

Ashley Trout with Midland Humane Coalition Cat Wranglers- loans traps and provides expert trapping advice

Danielle Piatt with Permian Basin Animal Advocates- loans traps and provides expert trapping advice

Resources:

Fix West Texas- Loans traps and provides low cost spay and neutering.

Trapping Tips

​GET THE CATS USED TO EATING OUT OF THE TRAP

Feed the cat and others in unset traps for a few feedings up to a week before trapping. Feed the cats in the same place and time as normal. Load the trap the opposite way you normally would, so that the food is in the front of the trap and the front door is closed, because you do not want the trap set. Twist tie the door(s) securely open. Place the food by the entrance of the trap, then over the next two feedings move it closer to the back. Feed in the same place and time as always. Monitor the traps while the cats eat to ensure traps are not stolen or a cat is not accidentally trapped. In difficult weather, cats shouldn’t be left in traps without protection from the elements. The cat will see other cats eating inside the traps and will likely try it as well. When you are ready to trap in the future, withhold food for 24 hours.

For difficult to trap cats: TRY USING A LARGER SIZE TRAP

Some cats may be more comfortable entering a larger trap that has a taller opening and wider sides.

WITHHOLD FOOD FOR UP TO TWO DAYS

For a particularly trap-savvy cat, you might consider withholding food for up to two days, but do not withhold food for any longer. Never withhold water.

MAKE TRAP MORE ENTICING – USE SMELLY TREATS AS BAIT

​Bits of jarred baby food (without onions)

Catnip (smear fresh catnip on trap plate)

Make a strong-smelling broth by boiling the pungent herb “valerian root” in water, and then douse the trap with it.

Try other types of bait, such as “people tuna” in oil, mackerel, canned cat food, sardines, anchovies, or cooked chicken.

Cats have an extraordinary smell. Traps often smell like humans or cleaning products. Try wiping the trap with fresh catnip or sardine oil. Always leave trap covers outdoors to lose the human scent.

USE DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES TO COAX CAT ONTO THE TRIGGER PLATE

​You may be able to guide some cats into a trap with a laser pointer. You can use a pointer from quite a distance away, too. Use the laser to emulate the movement of an insect, to draw the cat’s attention inside the trap.

Hang a piece of cooked chicken from a string above the trigger plate. The cat will likely need to step on the trigger to reach the chicken. Tie the chicken in the far right corner of the trap so that the cat must “reach” to get the chicken.

PLACE THE TRAP IN A MORE SECLUDED LOCATION

​Moving the trap to a nearby, quieter or more protected location can raise the cat’s comfort level enough to enter.

CAMOUFLAGE THE TRAP

​Disguise the trap so that it blends in with its surroundings. First, hide the trap under a bush, under a leaning piece of wood, or in a box so the cat feels like he is entering a dark hole. To further disguise the trap, cover the sides with branches, leaves, camouflage material, burlap or other natural materials (not the rear – the cat needs to see all the way through) and on the trap floor.

Even simply covering the trap with dark cloth or a towel can do the trick. Be sure that the coverings you use do not interfere with the trap door closing. Sometimes even simpler things work, like putting the trap inside a cardboard box (with the rear door not covered) or leaning a large board against a wall and putting the trap behind it so it’s hidden.

SPRING THE TRAP YOURSELF (WATER BOTTLE TRICK)

​The problem may be a particular cat is wily, or it could be that he’s only one you want out of a crowd of others who keep going in ahead of him. In either case, the solution is to bypass the trigger/trip plate mechanism of the trap and go to manually spring the trap. You can do this by propping the trap door up with a full water or soda bottle. Tie a long string around the neck of the bottle then stand some distance away. When your cat of choice finally goes in, yank the string, pulling the bottle away and shutting the trap door. Practice the method at least once so you get the right feel for it, and wait until the cat is up to or past the trip plate before you pull the string.

Community Cat Surgery- What to Expect at Fix West Texas


All cats will be assessed visually at check-in and weight will be approximated. Cats will remain in their traps until they are safely sedated using a feral cat trap fork. Once cats are sedated, cats will be weighed to determine the appropriate amount of long-lasting pain meds.

During surgical prep, cats will be shaved and any concerns will be discussed with the surgical vet. The surgical vet will determine if surgery is advisable (most often we will choose to operate on pregnant or lactating females), will recommend euthanasia in certain instances, will determine if the cat will need a long-acting antibiotic injection for any reason and will prescribe Sub Q fluids to any cat in need of fluids. Standard charges will be applied for cats in heat, pregnant, postpartum, lactating, or in need of antibiotics or euthanasia. A green tattoo will be placed on the cat, after spaying or neutering.

During recovery, cats will receive a left ear tip and will be given the rabies injection. Ears will be checked for mites, stool checked for tapeworms and body will be checked for fleas/ticks. If found, treatment will be performed, and standard charges will apply.

All sutures are absorbable. Cats usually need to be held in a climate controlled environment for 10-24 hours after surgery, depending on recovery speed. Male cats and often females can be returned to the trapping site as soon as they are fully awake and do not require further medical attention. Lactating female cats should be returned within 10-12 hours. Heavily pregnant cats should be held 48 hours.

PLEASE NOTE: It is our general policy to perform surgery on all feral cats presented. If you do not feel comfortable with policy, a full-service vet clinic may be a better option for you.

Our vet will determine on a case-by-case basis if a cat is need of an antibiotic. Please keep in mind that most URIs are of a viral nature which means antibiotics will not help.

Post-Operative Care


The cats will be returned to you in the same covered traps in which you brought them or in a transfer cage. You’ll receive their medical records, including rabies vaccination certificates via email.


Allow the cats to recover overnight. The cats will need some time to recuperate after their surgery, so keep them indoors in their covered traps. Make sure they’re in a temperature-controlled environment—cats can’t regulate their body temperature while recovering from anesthesia. Keep the cats away from loud noises, no music and pets and people. Do not let children near them. A warm basement or bathroom is fine.


Safety first! Keep the traps covered to ease the cats’ stress. Never (never) open the trap doors or let the cats out. As cute as they may look, don’t stick your fingers through the bars or try to handle them when they are awake.


TEXT Karen Patterson (254) 715-2815 or Lori VanHoozer (469) 855-3647 if you have any questions or concerns.


Monitor the cats. Check the cats often and keep an eye out for any bleeding, possible inflammation, possible infection, and lack of appetite. If a cat is vomiting, having difficulty breathing, or not waking up, get veterinary assistance immediately. If a cat is vomiting while still unconscious (asleep), turn her head to avoid choking. You can do this by gently tipping the trap to no more than a 30 degree angle. Be careful and don’t jostle her too much.


Give the cats food and water after they wake up. Wait eight hours after surgery before feeding adult cats. Kittens can be fed shortly after waking from anesthesia. When feeding the cats, lift the back door of the trap slowly and only allow a small gap. Slide a plastic lid with a little bit of food on it through the gap—don’t put your hand inside. You can also use an isolator or trap divider to do this. If you don’t have an isolator and you feel you can’t slide a plastic lid in without the cat trying to escape, then don’t feed them. The cats will be OK, and they can eat once they are released.


Cats usually need 24 hours to recover, but depending on recovery speed, adult cats can be returned to the trapping site 10 to 24 hours after surgery. In some cases, females require 48 hours to recover. Make sure all cats are fully conscious, clear-eyed, and alert before release. If a cat requires more than 48 hours of care, transfer her to a large crate or holding pen. You may also need to transfer a cat into a clean trap if the newspaper becomes soiled during recovery. Clean any soiled traps and reline them with fresh newspaper.