EHS recommends the Trap-Neuter-Return program for healthy feral cats. It is the humane way to help prevent unwanted litters and help combat pet overpopulation.

Trap-Neuter-Return Program

Help Reduce the Feral Cat Population

Property owners outside the City of Edmonton can allow feral cats to continue to live peacefully while reducing over-population by booking a spay/neuter appointment at EHS. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a humane and effective strategy for managing populations of unowned, free-roaming cats.

Using a humane trap, property owners can capture a feral cat on their property, and with an appointment – access a no-cost spay or neuter surgery for the cat. Drop-off, surgery, and pick-up are all performed the same day and afterwards the cats are returned to the property owners to be re-released.

This program also includes vaccination, parasite treatment, and a long-term antibiotic injection which helps improve the health of feral cats. Cats are returned to their original location following their spay/ neuter surgery in order to stabilize the local population and prevent the influx of cats from neighbouring areas.


  • Cats must be Feral. These are cats who have had little to no contact with humans and are fearful of humans as a result. They will not approach people and try to avoid them.
    • Feral cats are often observed crawling, crouching, hiding, avoiding eye contact and stay quiet.
    • For spay/neuter service for owned, companion cats, please check out our PALS (Prevent Another Litter Subsidy) program or contact your local veterinarian.
  • Cats must be located within 2 hours outside the City of Edmonton municipal limits.
    • For feral cats inside the city of Edmonton, call 3-1-1 or visit their website here.
  • An appointment must be booked in advance to confirm program availability.
    • Spaces are limited and weather impacts access for this program. Note there may be a waiting period so please confirm your appointment prior to attempting to trap the cat.
  • The cat MUST be brought to TNR appointments in a humane trap.
    • For information on humane traps, please see the FAQ below.
    • We are unable to accept cats in kennels due to stress caused to the animal

Please Note: We are unable to schedule appointments during extreme warm or cool weather as per ABVMA standards; cats should not be trapped in weather above 20 degrees or below 0 degrees Celsius. 


  • This program is offered at no cost and supported by donations to EHS.

What are feral cats?

  • homeless cats who are largely outdoor cats
  • minimal contact and socialization with people
  • not likely to become companion animals
  • kittens of feral cats may become socialized

What is included in the TNR surgery Appointment

  • Spay/Neuter Surgery
  • Ear-Tip Identification
  • Vaccines
  • Deworming (if needed)
  • Long-acting antibiotic injection (at veterinarians discretion)

TNR applications for 2022 are now full and will re-open again in the Spring 2023. All 2022 applicants will be contacted by our program coordinator to discuss next steps.

Cats are only able to be accepted for appointments if brought in a humane cat-trap similar to the one shown here.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. We open the program during the warm months. This date changes every year depending on the weather, usually we try to open the program up again at the end of March. If the colony caregiver is able to keep the cats indoors in a heated area for 5-7 days post-surgery, we may be able to accept TNR cats during the winter.

Yes. We have limited availability for this program each week. When you apply for an appointment – someone from our team will contact you to confirm a drop-off and pick-up time and date. We are unable to accept walk-ins or unscheduled appointments.

Trapping cats is best done by using humane cat traps, food, newspaper, and towels. If using a humane cat-trap please note that traps must be checked a minimum of every three hours and placed in a sheltered area. See the following resources for detailed instructions.

The procedure in the spring/summer/fall is to release them post-surgery to the area they were found. In the winter recovery indoors for five to seven days is needed due to the harsh Alberta winters. See this video on a detailed process on TNR.

To determine if the cats are feral, check this resource. If our staff are unable to hold or handle them, they would be deemed feral.

Humane traps are large rectangle cages with a door that can be propped open. Inside the cage is a mechanism that closes this door once the cat steps on it. The image on the left shows what a typical humane trap looks like and these are used because they protect the feline and staff from harm and potential injuries.

These types of traps can often be rented from your local animal control agency or municipal bylaw office so please check there first.

To purchase a humane trap, contact your local Peavy Mart, Canadian Tire, or wildlife supply store to inquire. These devices typically range between $75-100 in cost.

Your donation goes to help thousands fo animals each year.

Your donation goes to help thousands of animals each year.