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Community Cats

What is TNR?


TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) is a method of spay/neuter for outdoor, free-roaming cats. Community cats rapidly reproduce, causing overpopulation, animal suffering, and high kitten mortality. Participating in TNR is the only proven way to humanely decrease the population of free-roaming community cats.


While most of us say "TNR," the more accurate term is TNVR. The "V" stands for vaccinate. At the York County SPCA, we advocate for TNVR and practice it by vaccinating every cat who comes through our doors against rabies. 

TNVR Definition:

  • Trap – The act of setting a humane trap to capture a community cat. By trapping a community cat, the trapper can transport them to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated or receive other veterinary care.
  • Neuter – Having the community cat spayed/neutered so they are no longer able to reproduce. This can be done at our low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic.
  • Vaccinate – Having the community cat vaccinated against rabies to help keep them and their communities safer. Vaccination is performed during a spay/neuter appointment at our Clinic.
  • Return – The act of releasing the community cat back to their original outdoor home.

How to Use Our TNR Program

Call (717) 764-6109 ext. 302 or please email to make appointments for surgery if you wish to bring multiple cats at a time.

  • We do accept walk-ins, one cat per person per day, dropped off between 8:00- 8:30am Monday through Thursday. These walk-ins will have surgery after all scheduled appointments, so we cannot guarantee these cats will get surgery the same day as drop off. Cats eligible for this program must be in a humane trap, not a carrier.

Trap the cat(s) and bring them to us.

  • Cats must weigh 3 pounds (approximately 12 weeks old) to have surgery and receive a rabies vaccine. Cats are sedated and then weighed – if a cat is too small, the $20 fee will not be refunded in order to cover the cost of sedation/anesthesia.
  • For the safety of the cat, yourself, and our staff, all cats must come in a humane, live-release trap. Free-roaming cats are of unknown rabies status, and cannot be handled awake. The humane trap allows staff to sedate the cat through the bars of the trap and safely handle the cat once it is asleep. The York County SPCA has traps available to rent for a $60 refundable deposit. Please call (717) 764-6109 to rent a live-release trap. 
  • Always provide fresh water for cats, regardless of age.
  • Always cover the trap with a sheet, towel, or blanket. This provides a much needed sense of security for the cat during transport.
  • Make sure the trap is set in a safe place where the cat cannot be affected by inclement weather or extreme temperatures.

All patients will receive a spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination.

  • Cats' left ears will be tipped to indicate that they have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated for rabies.
  • Cats will also receive a green scoring tattoo, a universal sign that the cat has been spayed/neutered.
  • You may opt for additional vaccines, FELV/FIV testing, flea treatment, and additional parasite treatment. These services can be discussed and chosen at the time of drop off.
  • A veterinary technician will examine the cat after he/she is under anesthesia and alert the doctor to any abnormalities. You will be contacted by phone while the cat is under anesthesia if further treatment is recommended.
  • If it is determined after the cat is sedated that he or she is already spayed or neutered, we will scan for a microchip to try and find an owner. The cat may be held at our facility for one week to do this. If there is no microchip or no owner can be located, we will administer Rabies vaccination and perform ear tipping prior to returning the cat to you for release. No refund is given for these cases as the $20 fee covers the anesthetic drugs needed and Rabies vaccination.

Pick up and return the cats to their outdoor home.

  • For surgeries performed Monday through Wednesday, all TNR cats will stay overnight and will be available for pickup at 8:00am the following day. 
  • Cats that have arrived in traps will not be transferred to a carrier at pick up for safety reasons. Ideally, the cat should not be released for 24 hours after surgery. It is very important that the cat is kept safe and dry inside the trap at least overnight prior to releasing. This will give the cat time to better recover from surgery. The only exception is if the cat is a nursing mother and must be returned to her kittens. 
  • You may also want to refrain from releasing the cat during inclement weather, such as rain or snow, so the surgical site can stay dry.