Our Process

The following is an overview of our trap-neuter-return process.

Register as a Caretaker

If you are eligible, complete the caretaker registration form and fax, e-mail or mail back to us (see form for details). If you have any questions about the form or the process, please call 847-289-4557 or e-mail  info@spayandstay.org to talk to one of our volunteers.

Once we receive your forms, we will contact you to confirm eligibility and get you started with the scheduling process. Please allow a few days for us to process your form.

Once your caretaker form is received, the Spay and Stay office will call you to arrange the following:

  • Borrowing a Spay and Stay trap
    You will pick up traps at one of our volunteer trap depots. The volunteer will teach you how to operate the trap, show you where and when to place it, give you pre- and post-surgery care instructions, and answer any questions. A security deposit of $50 per trap is required (maximum of $200). The deposit will be returned to you when the clean traps are returned after surgery.
  • Scheduling an appointment at one of our veterinarians
    We will discuss the next available surgery date at one of our veterinary clinics and set up an appointment for you. We understand that cats do not always cooperate in people’s efforts to trap them. You will be provided with trapping tips to increase the likelihood of catching the cat for the appointment. It is very important that an adult cat have food withheld for 12 hours prior to delivery to the clinic to insure that the cat does not vomit before, during or after surgery. Water should be provided until transport to the vet. Kittens less than 5 months should have food and water (a small meal the morning of surgery) until transport to the clinic. Download additional trapping tips.

Trap & Surgery

Trap cats and take to veterinarian. You will drop them off the morning of surgery and pick them up later the same day. Our Trapping Tips (pdf) has complete instructions and helpful tips for basic trapping. For elusive felines and kittens, check out our additional trapping tips (pdf).


The veterinarian will also provide after-care instructions. The cat should recover in the trap in a quiet, safe place with adequate ventilation and protection from weather. Provide a tablespoon of moist cat food and water in the trap when the cat is fully awake. If the cat does not vomit, provide another tablespoon. It can then resume eating its normal food. More details are in our Recovery Instructions (pdf).

Males remain in the trap for 24 hours, females for 48 hours unless they are nursing young kittens. If they have young kittens, release the mother cat 24 hours after surgery.

More questions? See our list of Frequently Asked Questions or check the Other Resources page.