Feral Cat Program
The Humane Society of Loudoun County works to help our neighbors who have made the wonderful decision to care for feral cats in their neighborhoods, places of employment, or wherever they see the need. We employ a policy called Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) to help maintain the number and health of current populations of feral cat colonies (a group of feral cats living together is a colony). By using a system of humane trapping, HSLC volunteers will trap the cats, transport them to local vets to be altered (spayed or neutered), get a rabies shot, have flea and tick medicines applied, deworming, distemper shot, and address any immediate medical needs as applicable. The cats receive an ear tip on their left ears to signify to any other humane trappers that this cat has already been altered. Cats are then returned to their home/colony after a short period of recovery. All cats will then continue to be monitored and cared for by their caretakers and live out a good life outside.
What is a feral cat? Feral cats are cats in our neighborhoods and commercial properties that are not socialized to people. They are the same species as a domesticated cat; they were just not raised to trust humans and are not ideal for indoor living. If they have a litter of kittens, they can be socialized to humans if caught by a certain early age. Most feral cats come from a blood line that once started with a domesticated cat but due to many possible situations became outdoor cats.
What is a stray cat? Stray cats on the other hand are outdoor cats that have at some point been around humans and in many cases can be adopted out to live wonderful lives indoors. Strays are typically pets that were lost or abandoned at one time.
Why not take feral cats to the shelter? It has been shown through studies that the policies of TNR is humane and is a better population control technique then catch and kill. Any feral cat that is trapped and taken in to a local shelter will be euthanized. Removing the cats from a specific location where there is either shelter, food, or both only creates what is called a vacuum effect and more cats will eventually move into the space vacated by the euthanized cats and the whole pattern starts again. A colony that has received TNR can thrive for many years with no additional kittens or new members.
Where can you find more information? Please check out our frequently asked questions page. If you cannot find your answer there you can email us with questions or link to Alley Cat Allies at www.alleycat.org. They have an extensive website with answers to just about any question regarding feral cats.
****If you have a feral colony and need assistance with TNR, please fill out the feral assistance request form below as completely as possible. Someone will follow up with you as soon as possible. ****
Trap Neuter Return Procedure
1.) Upon receipt of your request, you will be scheduled for an upcoming low cost spay/neuter clinic. Based on the number of pending requests this could take up to 6-8 weeks for your scheduled appointment.
2.) Prior to your appointment a volunteer will be in touch to discuss what needs to be done to prepare for the trapping date.
3.) A HSLC volunteer will come to your location on the scheduled day to set the necessary traps.
4.) With your assistance we will monitor the traps throughout the day.
5.) All trapped cats will be held in the trap until the day of surgery.
6.) The cats will be transported to the spay/neuter clinic for surgery and vaccinations.
7.) Recovery is typically 24 hours and the cats will be returned to you the next evening.
8.) All cats will be returned to their original home.
9.) Suggested tax-deductible donation to "Feral Spay It Forward" is $25 a cat. 100% of donations received will be utilized to continue our TNR efforts in Loudoun County to strive towards a day where all of our feral cats are spayed or neutered and vaccinated and all adoptable outdoor cats/kittens have a home.
Feral Assistance Request Form