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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tell if the cat is a stray/feral or belongs to someone who is letting it out? It is often difficult to know the difference. Feral cats normally are afraid of humans and will run away if they see you. Stray cats may be friendly and will sometimes meow. A responsible owner whose cat goes in and out will have already sterilized it to prevent pregnancies. If the cat you see is exhibiting territorial or breeding behaviors such as fighting, yowling in heat, spraying urine, or showing signs of pregnancy, it should be caught and sterilized to help manage these troublesome behaviors and receive vaccinations. If the owner has not taken the responsibility to help the pet, you can still help it by bringing it in for surgery and vaccinations.

How can I tell if a cat is unsterilized? Unneutered males roam up to 1 mile in search of females, fight with other cats, and spray urine on buildings or plants to mark their territory. Unspayed females make loud vocalization to attract males and stick their back end up while lowering the front of their bodies.

Can someone help me trap these cats? A trap mentor can answer your questions either by phone or in person. You can ask their advice as to placement and best foods to bait the traps. If you are physically unable to place the traps, transport the cats to the clinic, or care for them 1-2 days after surgery, let the Spay and Stay office person know your limitations so that volunteers can be notified of your needs.

If the cat is friendly and I can get it into a carrier, why do I need to use a Spay and Stay trap? The trap is for the safety of the cat and the veterinary clinic staff. The most docile cat is often stressed by being confined and riding in a car. The trap design allows the veterinary staff to prepare the cats for surgery with minimal risk of being bitten or scratched. The trap is also a safe place for the cat to recover for 24-48 hours after surgery.

Will cats come back to my house after I release them following surgery? If the cat has known your house as its source of food, water and shelter, it will return to your home following surgery. He/she may "lay low" for a couple days after surgery and then show up for meals after recovery.

Can I adopt this stray cat I've been feeding and bring it inside? Yes, the cat that has been through trap-neuter-return is ready for adoption as all of its vaccinations are up to date and parasite treatment has been received. You may consider having him/her tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus before introducing him/her to other cats.

How long does a mother cat carry her kittens before they are born? The gestation period is around 63 days from conception to delivery. It is a regrettable necessity for Spay and Stay to end pregnancies in order to prevent more homeless kittens.

How old do kittens have to be before mother can be spayed? A mother cat can be spayed when her kittens are eating canned food regularly, which is typically when they are between 5-6 weeks old. A mother can be returned to her kittens to nurse them 24-30 hours after spay surgery.

When can a mother cat become pregnant again? She can become pregnant again within 6 weeks of delivery so it is important to trap her for surgery as soon as the kittens can be away from her for a couple of days.

Can a pregnant or in-heat cat be spayed? Yes, spay surgery can be done on both pregnant and in-heat cats. Pregnant females whose kittens are aborted often receive extra care and fluids following surgery. Recovery time in the trap is the usual 48 hours.

At what age are kittens weaned? Kittens can be weaned from their mother when they are eating on their own, which is typically between 6-8 weeks of age.

How old do kittens have to be to be sterilized? It is best to wait until kittens are 3 pounds or about 3 months old before spaying them. Females can become pregnant when they are about 6 months old so spaying between age 3 and 6 months is ideal.

What do I do about homes for kittens? Start right away by talking with friends, neighbors and co-workers about the kittens you are socializing. Take pictures of your kittens so people can see how adorable they are. Read the information on socializing feral kittens. Kittens should be adoptable at between 10 and 12 weeks of age. Discuss the adopter’s pet ownership history, their willingness and financial ability to have the kitten sterilized before 6 months of age, and the other pets and family members in their household. You can also call local shelters to see if they have space for these kittens.