Feral Cats (TNR) | PAWS Chicago

Community Cats and Trap, Neuter, Return

Population control is critical to making Chicago No Kill.

Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

There are tens of thousands of outdoor community cats living in our neighborhoods throughout the Chicagoland area. Community members and outdoor community cats are co-dependent on each other’s support. In order for neighborhoods to maintain a low rodent population, outdoor community cats are essential. In order for community cats to maintain their established colonies, they need the support of the neighborhood to Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) them, continue feeding them, and monitor their well-being.

Population control is critical to making Chicago a No Kill community.  That’s why PAWS Chicago is leading grass-roots efforts around successful programs across Cook County, like TNR that works to manage the outdoor community cat colonies while supporting their natural habitat.

PAWS Community Cats Program

PAWS Chicago’s Community Cats program works on the ground in under-served areas of Chicago to perform TNR where there are no other resources available. We are out in these areas weekly performing TNR, resulting in free sterilization (including transportation) for dozens of cats weekly! This program is designed to empower and support our city’s feeders of stray cats, transforming them into fully-informed, active, registered colony caretakers. Community Cats combines our successful outreach and engagement strategies with expert knowledge on outdoor cat issues to ensure we are systematically reducing overall outdoor cat populations throughout our city, and supporting the compassionate residents who care for them. Our Community Cats program currently services the following zip codes of Chicago: 60609, 60617, 60621, 60623, 60628, 60629, 60632, 60636. If you live in one of these areas and need help with outdoor cats, please call 773-475-9410. 

TNR Resources for the General Public 

If you don’t live in one of the zip codes above, but would like to TNR in your neighborhood, we’re happy to help you get started! Please follow the following steps to help reduce the number of kittens being born. 

1.     Feeding Schedule

If you have cats in your area you are looking to TNR, the first thing to do is get them on a feeding schedule. If you feed them the same time each day for even a few days prior, it will be much easier to trap them. You want them hungry and waiting the day of trapping so they go in the traps!

2.     Trap Rental

Traps may be rented from PAWS Chicago at our Lurie Clinic (3516 W 26th St) by appointment only. A maximum of 2 traps can be leased. To rent a trap, you must have a feral cat spay/neuter appointment with our clinic. Trap rental appointments and feral spay/neuter appointments can be made with our clinic by emailing clinic@pawschicago.org. Trap rental pick up/drop off hours are Monday-Friday from 10 am – 11:30 am. A $85 deposit is required (credit card preferred) and must be returned within 2 weeks. Each trapper MUST complete the necessary paperwork. If you do not return the traps by the return date signed on the agreement, your deposit will not be refunded. No exceptions. Do not leave your traps unattended; if stolen, you will be charged the replacement cost. You are encouraged to buy your own 30 LTD (30-inch Light Duty) traps through Trucatchtraps.com.

3.     Spay/neuter Appointments for Feral Cats

Feral spay/neuter appointments will be made only through the Lurie Clinic. Please email us at clinic@pawschicago.org for pricing and availability. Each person is limited to a MAXIMUM OF 5 FERALS per day.

Feral check in times are from 9am until 10am, pick up is at 5pm the same day unless otherwise notified. No overnight stays allowed for any reason. 

4.     Assessment for PAWS Adoptions

If you would like cats/kittens considered for our adoption program, please coordinate their evaluation with the PAWS Chicago intake department directly at 773-475-9462 or intake@pawschicago.org. You must make an appointment with them to have a cat evaluated for intake; we do not accept walk ins or drop offs. 

5.     How do I become a colony caregiver?

If you are caring for outdoor cats in Cook County, you can apply to become a registered colony caregiver! As part of the Cook County Feral Cat Ordinance, outdoor cat colonies in compliance with the ordinance and registered with a sponsoring organization have some legal protections. Please download our application (EnglishSpanish), fill it out, and mail it to:

PAWS Chicago - Community Cats Program
3516 W 26th Street
Chicago IL 60623