Even those of us who love cats are not always thrilled to see a new stray/feral cat lurking around. It tugs at our heart strings and inevitably causes some sort of conflict in our household, with other animals, and with neighbors. If you have discovered that stray/feral cats are calling your neighborhood home, you CAN help them. Sometimes funds and resources are limited, so if you and your neighbors can do some of the groundwork it will help the kitties and improve your community while also helping local animal welfare organizations. In most cases, local rescues and shelters do not accept adult feral cats (they may be able to help tame adult cats if there is available space) so relocation is usually not possible, but you can humanely control the population with TNR.

  • Make sure the cat is healthy, fed and has water.
  • If you can, bring the cat indoors while you search for an owner
  • Take the cat to a vet or local rescue and have the cat scanned for a microchip
  • Post a picture on social media pages. Include information about the location the cat was found, coloring and behavior
  • Talk to your neighbors and show them a picture
  • Post to the local Facebook lost and found groups
  • Post flyers
  • Post pictures at local pet stores
  • Contact Mesa County Animal Services and local rescues
  • Found kittens?

Printable Version How to TNR

Step 1: Identify the problem

  • How many cats? Who is feeding them?
  • Are they feral, stray, friendly? Could they be pets?
  • Are there kittens or pregnant females? Are there health issues?
  • Are the neighbors upset? Are the cats in danger?

Step 2: Identify resources and needs

  • You will need to trap the cats, take them to the vet and then provide a place to recover the cat overnight after surgery, what can you do? Who can help you?
  • Ask your neighbors to help fund spay/neuter costs or to help trap and recover cats
  • Find a vet, get equipment, you will need:
Traps Flashlight Gloves, long sleeve shirt, sturdy shoes
Carriers (if needed for recovery) Bait food (tuna or mackerel work great) Utensils for bait food (can opener?)
Newspaper to line traps Tarp to cover vehicle and recovery area Location to recover cats

Step 3: Connect with local animal welfare groups

  • Grand Valley Cat Coalition(www.grandvalleycat.org) in the 81501 zip code-offers vouchers, traps and assistance
  • Grand Valley Pets Alive(http://grandvalleypetsalive.org) outside of the 81501 zip code (also offers trap loans and will teach you how to use the traps)
  • Mesa County Animal Services(https://animalservices.mesacounty.us) offers PUPS certificates that can be used to offset some costs at participating vets
  • Animal Birth Control(ABC) (http://spayabc.com) will work with feral cats and rents carriers if needed
  • Talk to your vet to see if he/she offers a discount and would be willing to work with feral cats


Step 4: Make a plan

  • Find a vet and schedule an appointment or make a plan for days the vet accepts feral cats
    • (ABC does not require an appointment but only takes cats Monday through Thursday between 8 and 9 am)
  • Notify your neighbors that you will be trapping so they can keep their pet cats indoors
  • Feed on a schedule for several days then do not feed them for a feeding cycle before trapping so they are hungry

Step 5: Trap the cats!

  • Place a teaspoon of bait food in the trap, with a few bits at the opening so they follow a trail and set the trap
    • Important-Do not use more than a teaspoon of bait food, eating too much can cause life-threatening complications in surgery
  • As soon as the cat springs the trap, cover it with a towel and place in a quiet, climate-controlled area


Step 6: Recovery

  • ABC requires that all feral cats be brought in traps and they also require a hard-sided carrier for recovery. Check with other vets for requirements
  • Things to watch for in recovery:
    • It is very common for the cat to go to the bathroom or vomit in the carrier. Depending on your recovery set-up, changing bedding may be dangerous so proceed with caution
    • If there are signs of distress call your vet for further instructions
    • Cats should be kept in a quiet, climate-controlled area overnight.  Follow the vet’s instructions and do not open the carrier! No one wants a crazy cat flying around their bathroom

Step 7: Release the cat

  • After the appropriate recovery time, return the cat to where you trapped her
  • Wear gloves. Make sure to point the carrier/trap door towards a safe area and away from roads and dogs
  • Carefully open the door and release the cat

Step 8: Care for your colony

  • Provide them with food, water and shelter
  • TNR new cats!
  • Work with local shelters to find homes for kittens! (see below)

Step 9: Support your local animal welfare groups

  • It takes a ton of resources and funding to take care of the animals in the community. Please support your local animal welfare groups in any way you can. The more people involved means the animals live a better life and our community is healthier. It is a win, win for all involved.


Offers Vouchers and trap loans (there may be a waiting list):

Grand Valley Cat Coalition (GVCC) 81501 ONLY

www.grandvalleycat.org select “I need help with cats”

(970) 261-3760 (leave a message)


Grand Valley Pets Alive (GVPA)

(970) 462-7554



Offers PUPS certificates that can reduce the cost of spay/neuter (there may be a waiting list)

Mesa County Animal Services

(970) 242-4646


Low-Cost spay/neuter and vaccines, works with feral cats

Animal Birth Control

(970) 523-5487


Shelters that may accept kittens:


(970) 241-3793



Grand Rivers Humane Society

(970) 257-0070



Roice-Hurst Humane Society

(970) 434-7337


Please check with the shelter directly prior to bringing kittens to them. Space is very limited and there may be a waiting list