The most important step you can take towards helping your feral cats, is to get the group "stabilized". The best way to accomplish this is with a full-colony TNR. Here's what to expect if FCS will be stabilizing your feral cat colony.
Once the cats are being fed regularly in the same place and at the same time daily, the number of cats and possible pregnancies should be known. A cost estimate can be given at this point and the TNR can be scheduled. Notification of periods of anticipated unusual activity at/near the colony site or expected absence of the caretaker are necessary for scheduling.
A colony appointment will be made for the cats at Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic. At this time, the caretaker will be notified of the TNR schedule including the prep appointment, prep week, trap day(s) and release day. If there are obvious pregnancies, a pre-colony TNR target-trapping will also be scheduled. Check out Carols Ferals
3. Prep Appointment and Prep Week:
One week before trap day, traps that are set and rigged to remain open will be put in place in the cats' feeding area during the prep appointment. From this point, the caretaker will need to ensure that all food for all the cats goes into the designated bowls in the traps until trap day. The cats will become accustomed to eating their meals in the traps, making trapping predictable and reducing the cats' stress during the TNR operation as they will have formed positive associations with the traps. There will be additional instructions for the prep week that will be given during at this time.
4. Trap Day:
Two days before the cats' appointment at the clinic, the traps will be made functional and set at the cats' regular feeding time. The majority of the cats will be trapped during this initial trapping and will be removed to the FCS vehicle and transported to the holding facility where they will be cared for in the traps until clinic day. Fresh traps will replace the removed traps in the feeding area and the trapping will continue through the following day (excluding dusk to dawn). If one or more cats are known to be outstanding, a progression of baits, trap types and tactics will be applied until the cat is trapped. It is essential that the caretaker be available to be on or near the colony site for most of the trapping period.
5. Clinic Day:
The cats will be transported to the clinic for their surgeries, vaccinations, ear-tipping and topical parasite treatment.
6. Release Day:
After recovering at the clinic overnight, the cats will be picked up and returned to their home site for release.
The cats' medical records will be delivered to the caretaker approximately two to three weeks after the TNR is completed.