Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR)

HSHV's Trap, Neuter and Return Program aims to reduce the overpopulation of free roaming community cats while supporting a higher quality of life and reducing unnecessary euthanasia of cats. 

What is TNR?

Trap, Neuter and Return, also known as TNR, is a program sterilizing free roaming community cats and returning them to their habitat. All the cats in a colony are humanely trapped in live traps and brought to HSHV’s clinic. Trapping can be performed by a colony caretaker, volunteers or staff.

Once the cats are at HSHV, they are sterilized, vaccinated against rabies, given a left ear tip, and medicine to aid in the post-surgical healing process. After sterilization, the cat recuperates at HSHV overnight. Cats are then returned to their original habitat and released. Colony caretakers continue to provide food, water, and shelter, as well as monitor the health of the colony.

TNR is the only method proven to be humane and effective at controlling outdoor cat population growth. The goal of any community cat management program is to maximize the quality of life for the cats, to eliminate the existing colony over time, and to elevate the worth of community cats, and cats in general, through education and awareness.



How can I use the TNR program?

Cats can be brought to HSHV’s clinic Monday through Wednesday 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday before 12 pm for check-in; no appointment needed. Free roaming community cats must arrive in a live trap, one cat per trap—no carriers.  Please have live trap covered with a sheet or towel to reduce stress. This is for the safety of our staff as well as the cat. If a bite occurs during the cat’s stay, HSHV will follow the Washtenaw County’s public health rabies protocol, which involves a 10-day quarantine. If you trap a cat during our closed hours, please move the trap to a quiet location, keep it covered with a sheet or towel, and bring the cat to HSHV’s clinic as soon as we open.  Upon arrival to the clinic, you will be asked to complete a waiver, and payment will be due at this time.

What types of cats are eligible for TNR?

Free roaming cats coming through TNR should be cats living outdoors full-time, who require being live-trapped because they cannot be handled. Social/friendly cats should go through our regular outpatient veterinary cinic.

How much does TNR cost?

If you are in Washtenaw County or Plymouth, TNR is only $20 per cat.  If you reside outside the area, you can still use our TNR program for $75 per cat. 

If I don't have a live trap, what can I do?

Live traps are available for rental at HSHV for $75 each, with $65 refunded to you when you return the trap. Trap rentals are only for cats coming through our TNR program. Or you can purchase a Tomahawk Live trap here.

I have a large colony and am unable to trap on my own. Can anyone help me?

Yes, HSHV has volunteers and staff trained to help with large-scale trappings.  Please contact our Community Cat Coordinator at or 734-661-3523. 

What about shelters? Winter is coming. Will my cats survive?

Cats have been surviving outdoors for thousands of years, and you can help them year-round by creating outdoor shelters. Here's how.

How can I get involved further with TNR?

We'd love your help! Sign up for a free Community Cat Training Class to learn more about trapping and the care of outdoor cats. (Our HSHV volunteers also can sign up for assignments such as trap cleaning, sheet cutting, flyer posting and more.)

I have another question.

Great! Please contact our Community Cat Coordinator at (734) 661-3523 or email


Community Cat Program Statistics

  • Over 11,000 cats have been sterilized through HSHV's TNR Program since 2007.
  • Last year, 1,049 cats came through HSHV's TNR Program.
  • The number of stray and abandoned kittens coming into our shelter has dropped 36% since HSHV started our TNR Program.
  • To see a map of the areas that HSHV's Community Cat Program has performed TNR service, please click here

Help HSHV Monitor Community Cats in Washtenaw County

You can help HSHV track and monitor feral cat colonies in Washtenaw County. None of your personal information will be shared and we do not publish specific addresses. Please fill out this small survey. We thank you.

Humane Society of Huron Valley


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