Our Process

Our process is simple! If you live in Lake County and are seeing and/or feeding feral or stray cats outside, we want to help you to stop them from reproducing, and to live healthier lives. We will loan you a trap, teach you how to use it, make a vet appointment for you and educate you on colony care after you release the cat. Follow the steps below to learn the trap-neuter-return (TNR) process that save lives and helps your community.

Register as a Caretaker

If you live in Lake County, complete the caretaker registration form and return it as soon as possible via e-mail, fax or mail to the address on the form. If you have questions about the process, please call 847-289-4557 or e-mail info@spayandstay.org.

Allow our office 2-3 business days to process your form and then call us at 847-289-4557 to tell us you are ready to schedule surgery and begin trapping.

Schedule of surgery with partner veterinarians

We will coordinate a surgery date between you and one of our available vets, and provide you with the veterinarian’s address and drop-off time. We understand that cats do not always cooperate in efforts to trap them. Utilize our Trapping Tips to increase your success. It is very important that a cat over 6 months old have no food for 12 hours before arrival at the clinic to insure that the cat does not vomit during the surgery day. 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.

Borrow traps

Traps are picked up at one of our trap depots. The volunteer will teach you how to set the trap, suggest where and when to place it, give you pre- and post-surgery care instructions, and answer any questions. You will be provided with trapping tips to increase the likelihood of catching the cat for the appointment. A security deposit of $70 per trap is required. The deposit will be returned when the clean traps are returned a few days after surgery.

Trap & Surgery

Trap the cat and take it to your pre-scheduled vet appointment. Drop off is the morning of surgery and pick up is later the same day. The vet will call when the cat is ready to go home. 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 vet clinic staff 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 and alert. If the cat does not vomit after eating, provide an additional tablespoon of food. You can the offer its normal food. Details are in our Recovery Instructions (pdf).

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

More questions? See our list of Frequently Asked Questions.