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The Nova Scotia SPCA Provincial Animal Shelter and Clinic is pleased to offer Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) spay/neutering services to both rescue groups and the public at large.

Spay/Neuter surgeries for feral cats for the purpose of TNR require an additional fee of $20 in addition to the surgery fee. This is to cover the additional sedation needed and the tipping of the cats ear. Please note that unless the intake staff is able to determine gender on intake, the fee for a female spay will be charged. If the cat is found to be a male, the difference will be refunded.

Ear Tipping: We use the word “eartip” to describe when a small portion of the tip of a feral cat’s left ear is surgically removed during neuter surgery, to denote that the cat has been neutered. Eartipping is done while the cat is anesthetized and is not painful for the cat. Eartipping is the most effective way to identify neutered feral cats from a distance, to make sure they are not trapped or undergo surgery a second time.

Source: Alley Cat Allies

Guidelines for TNR

  • You must have a space you can keep the cat in for 1-2 days for recovery after surgery
  • Testing services are not provided
  • For information on renting a live trap in the HRM please contact the Dartmouth shelter at 468-7877.
  • The cat must be released in the same place it was trapped in.

What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with people or their contact with people has diminished over time. They are not socialized to people and survives on their own outdoors. Most feral cats are not likely to ever become lap cats or enjoy living indoors.

Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years. They are not a new phenomenon. Feral cats are members of the same species as pet cats—and are therefore protected under animal anti-cruelty laws. The difference between feral cats and your pet cat is that they have had little or no contact with people, and so they are wary of us, and cannot be adopted. They have a home—outdoors. They live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland.

Source: Alley Cat Allies

The Nova Scotia SPCA’s Position Statement on Feral Cats and TNR Population Control Programs

The Nova Scotia SPCA believes ignoring the feral cat problem is inhumane. The Nova Scotia SPCA advocates the humane treatment of all cats including those that are stray and those that have become feral. A “feral” cat is one that has never had contact with humans and that is the offspring of abandoned or unaltered free-roaming cats. Feral cats are at least one generation removed from domestication and therefore, if not sufficiently socialized with humans by a certain age – typically 6 weeks old – may not suitable candidates for adoption. Recognizing the over-population crisis of companion animals in the Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia SPCA supports public and private humane efforts in controlling feral cat colonies and their population.

The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that being proactive is the solution. Because feral cats are the end result of owned (or once owned) pets that were not spayed or neutered, unsterilized cats directly contribute to the overpopulation of cats. As a community-generated problem, we feel the responsibility is on all pet owners to have their pet spayed or neutered. The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that successful management of the feral cat population can be done through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Population Control Programs. The objective of Trap-Neuter-Return is to gradually eliminate colonies by a process of “aging out.” Feral cats are humanely trapped, tested for infectious disease, vaccinated, neutered and then returned to their colony.

Kittens that are within the critical window for domestication are removed, socialized and adopted. Returning the sterilized cat to its colony is crucial to reducing the colony size as new members will not join a feral cat colony with a stable number of neutered cats. Trap-Neuter-Return Population Control Programs maintain the colony in a healthy and secure state leading up to the eventual attrition of members. The Nova Scotia SPCA believes that not feeding feral cats is not the solution because starving cats will still mate. Concerned residents who are interested in providing food for or managing colonies are encouraged to seek advice from local feral cat rescue groups or shelters.