Feral Cats

Feral/Free Roaming Cats

Iowa Humane Alliance recognizes that feral and stray cats are a major concern in Iowa. In both our urban and rural areas, there are millions of free-roaming cats. In our towns and cities, they seek shelter under porches, in sewer openings and abandoned buildings. In rural areas, it is uncommon to find a barn without at least a few cats tending to the rodent problem. Some of these cats are homeless, but many are being cared for by compassionate individuals.

The Iowa Trap/Neuter/Return Resource and Assistance Program (I-TRAP)

Iowa Humane Alliance has worked with hundreds of citizens who are feeding and caring for colonies of free-roaming cats on their farms and in their neighborhoods. We are committed to facilitating the work of those who care for these cats and to assisting them with humanely controlling the population growth and to improving the health of the colonies they care for. We also promote community awareness of the responsible care and treatment of homeless animals, including those that are not likely to become house pets because of lack of socialization.

I-TRAP Services

  • Free-roaming cats are eligible for special pricing at the Iowa Humane Alliance Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic. Our Free Roaming Cat package includes spay or neuter surgery, a rabies vaccination and an ear tip (required) for only $35. A distemper/upper respiratory combo vaccination (FVRCP) can be added for $10.
  • We work with partner organizations and funds to find ways to bring that cost even lower for large colonies of cats. We recognize the necessity of altering all cats in a colony in a short amount of time in order to end the population growth and will work with you to find ways to accomplish that goal.
  • We provide equipment loans, including humane traps and cat carriers, to individuals and groups to assist them in humanely trapping the cats to bring them to the clinic.
  • We offer training and counseling in responsible colony care giving, humane trapping, and management of free-roaming cat colonies.

Trap/Neuter/Release Trapping Instructions & Tips

  • Establish a feeding schedule. Feed the cats at the same time and place each day, for a few days to a week prior to trapping. You will eventually place the traps in this area, so make sure it is a safe and level location.
  • If you need humane traps, you may check them out from the IHA Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic. We require a $50 deposit for each trap, which will be refunded when you return them.
  • The day before you trap, call the clinic (319-363-1225) to make sure that we have room for extra surgeries that day. You may bring up to 2 trapped cats in the morning without an appointment. Drop off time is 7:30 AM.
  • If you plan on trapping more than 2 cats, an appointment is required. With advance planning, we can accommodate at many at 35-40 cats on one day. If you are working with a large number of cats, doing them all at once is by far the most effective way to curb the population growth of the colony. Please call the clinic in advance to schedule. We can help you with a strategy to complete the project!
  • Be sure to alert the neighbors that you will be trapping. Most will be very grateful. Ask them to keep their own cats inside on the days that you trap.

PLEASE DO NOT TRAP A CAT UNLESS YOU CAN TAKE IT TO THE CLINIC WITHIN 24 HOURS.
For more tips and information please visit out Trap/Neuter/Release page.

What is Trap/Neuter/Return?

Trap/Neuter/Return programs are a humane alternative to mass euthanasia of the free-roaming cats living in our environment and, when well-managed, are more effective at reducing the population.

While tame free-roaming cats may be handled, many free roaming cats are feral (wild) or semi-feral. Those cats that cannot be safely handled are humanely Trapped, Neutered, and Returned (TNR) to their outdoor homes. A caregiver provides shelter, food, water and overall monitoring of the cats, and because they are altered, the birth of unwanted kittens decreases. TNR has proven to be the most cost effective and humane method to decrease cat overpopulation in free-roaming cats. For more information on our free-roaming cat policies and how you can help the cats in your neighborhood, please see our Trap/Neuter/Return page.