TNRM program

Our TNRM program for feral cats

In 2010, the Montreal SPCA implemented a sterilization program for feral cats called TNRM, short for Trap-Neuter-Release-and-Maintain. Feral cats are un-owned domestic cats who have returned to a semi-wild state and cannot be handled nor be adopted into homes. They often live in small or large groups, known as colonies.

Stray cats familySMALL_181924896The Montreal SPCA TNRM program consists of partnerships with twelve municipalities/boroughs (Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Anjou, Côte St-Luc, Lachine, Le Plateau, Montréal-Nord, Notre-Dame de Grâce/Côte des Neiges, Rosemont,  Sud-Ouest, Verdun, Ville-Marie and Villeray) and citizens in order to trap, sterilize and release feral cats back into their established colonies in an effective, efficient and humane manner. The TNRM program also ensures the continuity of care for these cats (food, drinking water, outside shelter during winter) and offers guidance and information to the citizens to maintain the cats’ well-being.

How it works

In order to catch the cats, we use special metal cages that measure about 2 x 4 feet in which we place food. The traps are gravity triggered, humane and cause no risk of injury to the cats. We have 20 cages available for the program. There are specific and strict guidelines to follow when wanting to trapping cats in these cages for the TNRM program and we work to ensure participants can do so safely and humanely.

Once the cat is in the cage, he is brought to the Montreal SPCA where is transferred without touching him from the cage to a nesting box where the vet can anesthetize him (or her) before handling him in order to prepare him for surgery. It’s a very efficient system, which enables us to avoid injury for the staff and reduce stress for the cats, many who are very wild and have had little or no human contact.

Our TNRM team consists of a coordinator and 5 volunteers who work with the citizens and municipalities involved to help and advise them with the TNRM program. Our veterinary team also plays a huge role in caring for and sterilizing the cats. Whenever possible, we try to start by sterilizing the females in a colony, to curb reproduction as quickly as possible, but the ultimate goal is to sterilize all cats in any colony. .

Most of the work is done from April to November, and during this time we perform around 30 to 40 spay/neuter surgeries for TNRM cats per week. The Montreal SPCA sterilization clinic does surgeries 6 days a week. We do less trapping and sterilizations of TNRM cats in the winter months because we don’t want to operate on animals and then release them in the cold and trapping the cats in the winter is allot more difficult. We also provide the cats with outdoor shelters during these chilly times. For example, we have agreements with some hospitals that provide us with styrofoam containers that we use to create outdoor shelters for the cats to protect them from the cold.

The TNRM is a lot of work and we are still learning as we go, but it’s the best solution up to now. Since its creation, this program has made it possible to sterilize over 1,000 feral cats, thus preventing thousands of unwanted litters.

To reach us

To everyone who is interested, needs information or guidance with our TNRM program, please contact our TNRM team at 514-735-2711, ext. 2362 or send an email to: We are a small program but we try to serve each person.

We close the program down usually by late November – after that, it’s too cold to release animals back outside after surgery and we restart generally in April. For people who can rehab the cats indoors for 2 weeks during the cold winter months, we can still sterilize the cats.

There also some other non-profit organizations in the Montreal area that provide TNRM to some Municipalities and citizens, including EDUCHAT and Félins Urbain and SOS Félins (in Prévost).


These cats have been ear-tipped or ‘notched’. This is a surgical alteration showing that a free-living cat has been spayed/neutered. It’s part of the program ‘TNRM, which means Trap, Neuter, Release, Maintain.

These cats should never be re-trapped or brought to a shelter, unless sick or injured. Instead, they should be left in their neighborhood to provide cat population control. Studies have shown by just being there, they prevent other cats from moving into the area. And, because they have been fixed, they will never have litters of kittens.

Cats who have been ear-tipped or ‘notched’ have a very distinctive cut that is even, whereas naturally occurring frostbite would be unlikely to result in perfectly even cuts in either of the shapes. Even if you don’t like cats, TNRM ear-tipped cats have an important job to do in keeping your neighborhood a nice place to live.


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