Operation S.O.S. (Spay Our Strays)

Community Cat Trap-Neuter-Return Program

Why Trap-Neuter-Return?

Operation S.O.S. Community Cat Trap-Neuter-Return Program reduces Lee County's cat overpopulation problem and reduces the shelter intake of feral (un-owned) community cats for euthanasia. This non-lethal, humane solution is the most effective way to improve the quality of life for feral cats; reduce their numbers; and address wildlife, public health, and environmental issues attributed to feral cats.

Cats breed faster than you can trap for eradication, and removing them simply allows for other new cats to re-populate the same area, known as the "Vacuum Effect." With TNR, there are no more kittens. The colony numbers are gradually reduced, and annoying mating behaviors such as yowling, fighting and urine marking stop. Most of all, it saves lives because there are not enough homes for all the kittens born each year.

Be a part of the solution. Here's how:

1. Make an appointment.

Lee County residents can contact Animal Services to schedule an appointment via email at spay@leegov.com or by calling 533-9234 to schedule an appointment(s). This is a free service; however, donations are greatly appreciated to offset veterinary costs.

  • Do you live in Bonita Springs? The City of Bonita Springs offers its residents no-cost spay/neuter services through Animal Hospital of Bonita, 8830 Emerald Isle, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. To make appointments and to borrow humane traps, call Animal Hospital of Bonita at (239) 947-3447. Residents must provide proof of residency, and all cats will be ear-tipped (the universal sign for feral/outdoor community cats that have been spayed or neutered).

2. Get an approved humane trap.

Feral cats must be housed in approved humane traps for the safety of our staff. Traps can be borrowed with a refundable deposit from Animal Services. You may also bring pet carriers to transport feral cats home after surgery, leaving the humane trap with us. Staff can provide proper trapping instructions when picking up borrowed traps.

3. Transport feral cat to Animal Services.

Place a towel or blanket over the trap when the cat is caught to keep it calm during transport for surgery. Get more information and view picture of the required covering over the trap.

4. Veterinary procedures and release to caretaker.  

Feral cats are sterilized, vaccinated for rabies, implanted with a microchip, left ear-tipped (the universal sign for feral/outdoor community cats that have been spayed or neutered), and returned to their colony. If you don't want the ear to be tipped, regular sterilization fees of $75 will apply. Please be advised that to prevent suffering from non-treatable injuries or illness, feral cats may be humanely euthanized if determined necessary by the licensed veterinarian.

5. Post-surgery care and release.

We recommend that caretakers wait to release feral sterilized cats until the following afternoon to provide recovery from the effects of anesthesia. Use a safe and comfortable place for recovery. Do not give any food or water until the following day to prevent vomiting and choking. 

Additional Resources:

Outdoor Cat Nuisance Solutions