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Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) Program

Animal Outreach of Shelby County has a free Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) Program that focuses on humanely reducing the number of community cats living on our streets. Our free TNR surgery package is available while funds are available (we rely on grants* and donations). If you are able to make a donation to help offset any or all of the cost of the surgery package, please donate. Your donation helps keep the program alive.

Eligibility Requirements

Cats must:
Be from an address within Shelby County
Arrive in a trap or hard carrier
Be over three months of age (roughly three pounds in weight)
Appear healthy. If there are health concerns, email or call before trapping.
All cats must be picked up same day

Surgery Package

In an effort to reduce the community cat population, the TNR surgery package provides:
Spay or neuter
Rabies vaccine
FVRCP vaccine
Ear-tipping—the tip of the left ear is surgically removed. An ear-tip is the universal symbol of a spayed or neutered outdoor cat.

Trap Loans

Free trap loans are available to anyone trapping within Shelby County. Traps can be loaned for TNR only. We do not loan traps for removal or relocation of cats. At times there may be a waiting list. Traps are typically on loan for a two-week period.
You are more than welcome to use your own traps!

Some Resources and How-to’s

The Kitten Lady has a great video on how to trap cats for trap-neuter-return.

Want to print out a how to on trapping, from A-Z? We have a pdf you can print off.

Once you’ve signed up for the trap-neuter–return program (click or scroll down to the bottom of this page), you are eligible to schedule surgery appointments through the Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic and have Animal Outreach of Shelby County cover the basic spay/neuter package.. The clinic picks up at the Rural Kind in Shelbyville. Call and leave a message 317-675-0072. A member of their staff will call you back to make an appointment for you to bring the community cats for surgery. Any pre-surgery deposit is your responsibility and cannot be paid for by Animal Outreach of Shelby County.

Benefits of Spay and Neuter

The benefits of spaying and neutering the unowned cat population include:
Stops breeding and prevents unwanted litters of kittens
Saves taxpayer dollars by keeping cats out of animal shelters
Helps improve the health and quality of life of outdoor cats
Reduces nuisance behaviors like spraying, fighting, howling and roaming


*In 2021, the program is made possible by grants from Rachael Ray Save Them All and the City of Shelbyville.