Trap Neuter and Return/Feral Cats
Livingston County, MichiganAnimal ShelterTrap Neuter and Return/Feral Cats

Trap Neuter and Return/Feral Cats

Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) is a humane alternative that helps manage and reduce the numbers of feral/wild cats. Livingston County.  Animal Control and Shelter offers free use of live traps (they require a $50 refundable deposit) and will spay and neuter these cats for you at an affordable price. All TNR cats will receive an ear tip.  A notch is taken out of one ear tip while they are being spayed or neutered. It doesn’t harm the cat and is much safer for the cat than being handled a second or third time to see if it is “fixed”.  An ear tip is a universal symbol and it lets a veterinarian or shelter know that there is no reason to handle the cat as it can’t reproduce.
Please make sure that the cats you want to TNR are not house pets. Feral cats are wild animals like a raccoon or opossum – and they cannot be picked up or handled without being in danger of being bitten.  If the cats in question are friendly, and can be easily handled by humans, you can bring them to the shelter where they may be put up for adoption. See our FAQs page  for more information about feral cats.
Livingston County Animal Control and Shelter cannot take in feral/wild cats because they are not adoptable and they are dangerous to our staff. Unfortunately, feral/wild cats that are surrendered to the shelter will be euthanized. TNR offers another option to reduce the population of feral cats, while letting them live out their natural lifespan.

How TNR Works

Livingston County Animal Control and Shelter does not have the resources to come out and trap cats for you, but you can rent the traps from us.
If the cats in question involve your neighbors, we recommend that you discuss TNR and its long term benefits before you begin. 

TNR Process  

We do TNR surgeries on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Please call first to make sure staff is available.  Trap the cat the night before or early in the morning and drop them off at the shelter in the morning before 10am. They will be spayed/neutered and given a rabies vaccine. They can be picked up in the afternoon, before we close at 5 pm. If you can hold them in a garage or barn for the evening to make sure they are alert, you can return them to their colony.


The cost of TNR service is $25/cat (1-2 cats) or $20/cat (3 or more cats). The cost includes:
  Rabies vaccine (cats can carry rabies!)
  Ear tipping (see image top, right) – this is REQUIRED
You do not need to be a low income household to qualify for this service.

Have you seen cats with ears like this?

TNR Cat Example image

These cats have been "ear-tipped" or "notched".  This is a surgical alteration showing that a free-living cat has been spayed/neutered.  It's part of "TNR", which means "Trap", "Neuter", "Return".

These cats should never be re-trapped or brought to a shelter, unless sick.  Instead they should be left in their neighborhood to provide cat population control.  Studies have shown by just being there, they prevent other cats from moving into the area.  And, because they have been fixed, they will never have litters of kittens.

Even if you don't like cats, TNR ear-tipped cats have an important job to do in keeping your neighborhood a nice place to live.