FAQs

Spay & Neuter

What is the cat overpopulation?

During a time period of the year known as “kitten season” in late spring through early fall, there is an influx of kittens born in the community and brought to the shelter. Over time, this breeding cycle has created a cat-overpopulation in our community, leading to shelter overpopulation, over-supply of adoptable cats for a limited number of adopters, increased euthanasia rates for cats, increased abandonment of cats by owners, and a large population of free-roaming cats on the streets.

Willamette Humane Society remains the only managed-intake sheltering resource for cats in our community who will accept surrendered cats even when full.

What do I do if I find a cat outdoors?

Cat with Ear Tip TransparentFirst, check if the cat’s ear has been tipped (see diagram). If so, it has been sterilized and you can leave it there. Studies show* that stray and feral cats are able to find food and survive outdoors.

If the cat has a collar, or appears lost or distressed, see if it will approach you to identify the collar or tags, take a photo, and file a Found Cat Report.  The cat may have an owner that is missing it!

If the cat’s ear has not been tipped, and it has no collar, call 503-480-SPAY to arrange for trapping and spay & neuter surgery.

*(Body condition of ferals at TNR (Scott, Levy et al. 2002)Population characteristics of feral cats admitted to seven trap-neuter-return programs in the United States. (Wallace & Levy, 2006))

 

What is a stray, feral, or community cat?

They are cats or their offspring that have been lost, abandoned, or allowed to roam outdoors.  They are called by many names, but they have something in common- they have no owners.

Who qualifies for reduced-rate spay & neuter surgeries?

The Willamette Humane Society Spay & Neuter Clinic currently accepts documentation associated with the following government assistance programs to determine who qualifies for reduced rate surgeries:

  • Oregon Health Plan Enrollment
  • Medicaid Enrollment
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Oregon Trail Card
  • Housing Assistance, such as Section 8
  • Woman Infant Child (WIC) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Enrollment
  • Need-Based Financial Aid Grants for Students
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Proof of Unemployment Benefits or Status

Do you receive a form of government assistance not listed here?  Please inquire if you qualify by calling 503-480-7729.

All About Feline Combo Tests

Each cat adopted from Willamette Humane Society receives the Feline Combo Tests as a standard practice for cats over the age of six months. All cats under the age of six months receive the FeLV test as a standard. For the public, our Spay & Neuter Clinic offers the tests for $25 at the time of surgery only.


  1. The Idexx snap combo test reveals presence of antigen (the actual virus).
  2. Rate of infection ranges from 2-3 of feral cats, to 13% or more of at- risk cats. Prevalence is highest in outdoor cats.
  3. Virus can be transmitted in saliva, urine and feces, through the placenta before birth, or via milk after birth. Biting, mutual grooming, sharing litter boxes and feeding dishes, and moms to litters are common routes of transmission. Generally takes prolonged contact and social interaction to acquire infection.  The chance of contracting permanent infection from a one-time brief contact is 3 chance of becoming permanently infected.
  4. The virus lives only a few hours on a surface outside the cat and is easily killed with common disinfectants.
  5. First stage if infection is called a transient viremia.  Virus is circulating in the blood for 3-6 weeks (maximum of  16 weeks).  The cat is contagious during this time, but many cats are able to clear the virus from their body during this phase.  Ability to do so is dependent on age, health, immune status, and concentration of viral exposure.  Kittens and sick or stressed animals are at highest risk.
  6. Second stage of infection is called persistent viremia.  The virus invades the bone marrow and the cat becomes permanently infected.
  7.  Some cats can clear the virus from their blood, but it will stay within the bone marrow, called a latent infection.  These infections can only be diagnosed with a bone marrow sample or special PCR tests.  The virus may stay hidden or re-activate during times of stress, illness or reproduction.
  8. 50 die within 3 years.  They may develop leukemia, anemia, tumors, and can develop other infections due to immunosuppression.
  9. Vaccination provides some protection, but is not 100% effective.  FeLV vaccines have also been associated with development of vaccine-associated sarcomas (tumors).
  10. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends FeLV testing at time of adoption to prevent exposure of other household cats, and to serve as baseline data for the future.  The AAFP also recommends retesting all cats at least 90 days after the initial test in case of early stage of infection at time of initial testing.
  11. No test is 100% accurate under all conditions.  Results should be interpreted in light of the patient’s health and prior exposure to FeLV.  A decision for euthanasia should never be made solely on the basis of whether a cat is infected.  Consult your veterinarian for more information.


  1. The Idexx snap test detects presence of antibodies to FIV, not the actual virus.
  2. Rate of infection is approximately 1.5-3 percent in the US, 3-4 of high risk or sick cats are infected.  Prevalence is highest in free-roaming, aggressive males.
  3. Transmission is most common via biting. Rarely, mothers may pass the infection to newborns in utero, in the birth canal or via infected milk.  Some kittens in a litter may become infected while others do not.
  4. It can take 8-12 weeks post infection to see antibodies.
  5.  A kitten may receive antibodies from an infected mother yet not have the virus within its body, thus may test positive for up to 6 months without having the actual virus.  Kittens under 6 months of age with a positive test should be retested at 60 day intervals until 6 months of age.
  6. A positive test for an adult cat is most likely a true positive, but should be confirmed with another test (the Western blot).  Few cats, if any, ever eliminate the infection.
  7. Infected cats may appear normal for years, though cats will become immunosuppressed and susceptible to secondary infections.  The cat may deteriorate progressively or have a waxing and waning course of disease.
  8. There is a FIV vaccine, but protection is not complete, and future tests will show positive due to the FIV antibodies acquired.
  9. The FIV virus does not survive outside the cat for more than a few hours.
  10. The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends testing of all newly adopted cats.

Requesting an Appointment

You can make a spay or neuter appointment for your cat or dog by calling us at 503-480-7729. Appointments are required for all animals (we cannot accept walk-ins). Confirmed surgical candidates must check in between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m; late arrivals will be declined due a strict surgical schedule.

WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic will only perform surgery on public animals that are 6 years of age or younger. We recommend all animals that are 7 years and older be spayed or neutered with their regular veterinarian.

Before making an appointment, please review our Spay & Neuter Surgery Admission Terms and Conditions.

A deposit of $20 for cats, or $40 for dogs, is required to hold your appointment.  Your deposit will be applied to the cost of surgery, or refunded if you cancel at least 2 business days before your appointment.

Call 503-480-SPAY (7729). General clinic hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Pre-Operative Instructions

Due to the high-volume requirements of our clinic’s operations, we are unfortunately unable to perform surgery on dogs weighing more than 90 pounds, bilateral cryptorchid cats, or abdominal cryptorchid dogs.  These animals – based on their physical characteristics, temperament or health concerns – would be best assisted at a full-service veterinary clinic, and may be declined for surgery at the WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic.

You must make an appointment and pay a $20 deposit for cats or $40 for dogs, which will be applied toward your final balance. Call us at 503-480-SPAY (7729) to schedule your pet for surgery, or fill out and submit an online appointment form.
Request an Appointment Online


This clinic does not have the capacity to treat sick or injured animals. If your pet is sick or injured, please call your regular veterinarian. We provide an elective surgery for healthy pets only.


We recommend that you have your pet vaccinated at least two weeks prior to your appointment. We recommend that you abide by Oregon state law and have a current rabies vaccination for your pet. If your pet does not have a rabies vaccine, we can administer it at the time of surgery for a charge of $10.


All adult animals must have food taken away by midnight (12 am) the night before surgery and must be kept indoors or confined. Any animal that remained outside all night without being confined will not be admitted for surgery. Animals four months or younger may have food until 6 am the morning of surgery. All animals may have water available until the morning of surgery.


Check-in time is at 7:15 – 7:30 am. Any late arrivals will be declined for surgery due to a strict surgical schedule we must maintain.


Please leave your pet in the car until you have completed all of the required paperwork. A veterinary assistant will advise you when to retrieve your pet.


You must complete the necessary admission forms when you arrive. You may stop by the clinic prior to your pet’s scheduled surgery day and pick up the paperwork to save time the morning of your appointment. Admission forms typically take 10-15 minutes to complete.


We accept cash, debit cards and credit cards. Sorry, we cannot accept checks. Services must be paid for at the time of check-in.


All dogs must be on a leash and all cats must be in a carrier. If you do not have a carrier for your cat, you can purchase a cardboard carrier for $5.


All animals are released the day of surgery and must be picked up at 4 p.m. Animals not picked up on time the day of surgery will be charged a $10 late fee.

Post-Operative Instructions

Please adhere to the following post-op instructions.

You can also view this informative video for tips on keeping your pet healthy following surgery:

Your pet has had major surgery. The surgery requires general anesthesia, which means the patient is completely asleep and unable to feel or move. In female dogs and cats, the uterus and ovaries are removed through a small incision in the abdominal wall. All pets receive a small tattoo near their incision site as permanent identification that they have been altered. In male dogs and cats, only the testicles (not the scrotum) are removed. Removal of the testicles prevents production of sperm, and the male dog or cat will no longer be able to father puppies or kittens.


Female dogs and cats have a midline incision in their abdomen. Male dogs have an incision just above the scrotum and male cats have two incisions: one in each side of the scrotum. Check the incision site at least twice daily. What you see the day of surgery is what we consider normal. There should be no drainage. Redness and swelling should be minimal. Male cats may appear as if they still have testicles. This is normal and the swelling should subside gradually through the recovery period. All animals receive pain medications before and after surgery.


If this occurs, an E-collar must be applied to prevent chewing or licking at the incision.


If your female dog or cat was in heat at the time of surgery, you must keep her away from intact males for at least two weeks. While she is unable to become pregnant, she may still attract intact males for a short period of time. If a male dog attempts to breed with a recently altered female, it can cause serious – possibly even life-threatening – damage to the female.


Unless you are told otherwise, your pet does not have external sutures. All sutures are absorbable on the inside of the body, and surgical glue has been applied to the skin at the incision. Do not clean or apply topical ointment to the incision site. If you are told that your pet has skin sutures or skin staples, you need to schedule an appointment for suture/staple removal in 10-14 days. Male cats do not have any sutures.


Some animals are active after surgery. It is very important that you limit your pet’s activity for the next 10-14 days. No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity during the recovery period. Pets must be kept indoors where they can stay clean, dry and warm. Do not bathe your pet during the recovery period. Dogs must be walked on a leash, and cats must be kept inside. Keep your pet quiet. Dogs and female cats have sutures that provide strength to the tissues while they heal. Any strenuous activity could disrupt this healing process. The healing process takes at least 10 days.


Your pet’s appetite should return gradually within 24 hours of surgery. Diarrhea, vomiting, and/or lethargy lasting more than 24 hours after surgery is not normal, and you should contact us immediately at (503) 480-7729. Do not change your pet’s diet at this time, and do not give junk food, table scraps, milk, or any other “people” food for a period of one week. This could mask post-surgical complications.


Spaying and neutering are considered safe surgeries, but there are risks associated with any surgery or anesthesia. Complications can occur. Minimal redness and swelling should resolve within several days. If it persists longer, please contact us. We may wish to schedule a recheck appointment for your pet at our clinic. Please contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • pale gums
  • depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • discharge or bleeding from the incision
  • difficulty urinating
  • labored breathing

If you have any questions or concerns directly related to the surgery during the recovery period, please call this office at (503) 480-7729. If there is an emergency after our normal operating hours, contact your regular veterinarian or call Salem Veterinary Emergency Clinic at (503) 588-8082. If our vet noted a medical problem in your pet, such as an ear infection, at the time of examination, we recommend that you make an appointment with your regular veterinarian to address the problem as soon as possible.

Willamette Humane Society’s Spay and Neuter Clinic will treat at our clinic, during normal operating hours, any post-operative complications resulting directly from this surgery if the above post-operative instructions are followed in full. Your regular veterinarian must address illnesses or injuries that are not a direct result of this surgery. Please call for an appointment as soon as you see cause for concern. Willamette Humane Society cannot be held responsible for any complications resulting from failure to follow post-operative instructions or for any contagious diseases for which the animal was not previously vaccinated.

What is trap-neuter-return (TNR)?

TNR Release

Trap Neuter Return (TNR) is when a stray or feral cat living outdoors is humanely trapped, neutered or spayed, ear-tipped (the universal sign that a cat has been sterilized), vaccinated, and returned to the area where it was trapped.

TNR will stabilize the cat population because no more litters are born from the cat. These sterile cats guard the territory against new cats moving in. TNR will also reduce nuisance behaviors like yowling, fighting, and spraying.

TNR, supported by leading national animal welfare organizations, is the most humane, cost-effective, and effective method of controlling the feral, unowned, free-roaming and stray cat overpopulation crisis facing virtually every city, town, and rural community in the country.

TNR involves trapping all or most of the cats in a colony, having them neutered, vaccinated for rabies, left or right ear tipped, and then returned to their territory. Whenever possible, young kittens and any friendly cats are removed for veterinary care and socialization, and placed for adoption.

TNR slows the growth of a colony if at least 70 percent of the fertile adults are neutered. Neutering 100 percent will result in a gradual decline of the population over time. In addition, the nuisance behavior often associated with feral or stray cats is dramatically reduced. This includes the yowling and noise that comes with fighting and mating activity and the odor of unneutered males’ spraying to mark their territory.  The cats tend to roam less and so become less of a visible presence. Spayed females are only feeding themselves, so the excessive hunting of females raising young is decreased.

Why not trap and remove, or trap and kill?

If stray cats are using territory, food, and other resources in an area, and then removed, other cats will move into the area to use those resources and breed, making the removal ineffective. This is called the “vacuum effect.”
Outdoor cats that are spayed or neutered serve as placeholders in the area. Their inability to reproduce breaks the breeding cycle that leads to cat overpopulation.

Because there are thousands of free-roaming cats, and because the vast majority cannot be homed, TNR is the best solution.

Reasons to Spay & Neuter

Spaying & Neutering Saves Lives

Without question, the most important reason to spay or neuter your pet is that it will literally save lives.

Puggle and CatPet overpopulation has reached a crisis point in our country. It is estimated that for every litter of puppies or kittens born, another must be euthanized. At Willamette Humane Society, we take in more than 10,000 animals every year. During “kitten season,” (the warm spring and summer months when cats give birth), we receive litter after litter of kittens – sometimes as many of 70 cats and kittens in one day. Although we work diligently to save as many as possible through adoption and transfer to partner rescue organizations, there simply aren’t enough homes for them all.

Experts agree that only by spaying and neutering our companion animals will we get a handle on pet overpopulation and eliminate the need to euthanize adoptable pets. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized, you become an important part of this solution.

Spaying & Neutering Enhances Your Pet’s Health & Quality of Life

In addition to preventing the birth of unwanted litters, there are multiple health benefits to spaying or neutering your cat or dog:

Male Cats
An urge to breed increases the chances that a male cat will slip out of the house in search of a mate and suffer fight wounds and other injuries. Even a single bite can transmit deadly diseases – such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) or Feline Leukemia (FeLV) – from one cat to another. Most unneutered male cats also spray urine – on furniture and walls – to mark their territory. In contrast, only 1 in 10 neutered males will spray. Neutering male cats at an early age greatly reduces this unpleasant behavior.

Female Cats
Spaying removes the ovaries and uterus from female animals and eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer. In addition, when unspayed female cats are in heat, many will yowl – loudly and continually – any hour of the day or night. Spaying eliminates the heat cycle and this unpleasant behavior.

Male Dogs
Neutering removes the testicles and prevents testicular tumors in male dogs. By eliminating the sexual drive that can cause a dog to bolt from the house or yard, neutering also helps protect dogs from the injuries and diseases associated with roaming. In many male dogs, neutering also greatly reduces or eliminates sexual mounting behavior and territorial urine-marking – especially when males are neutered at an early age.

Female Dogs
Spaying eliminates the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer in female dogs and cats. It can also reduce the risk of mammary gland tumors, which is the most common tumor in unspayed female dogs and the third most common in female cats. Spaying female dogs prevents the irritability and aggressiveness that some display while in heat.

For more information about spaying, neutering, and the importance of regular veterinary care for your pet, view the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association’s Q&A page about spaying and neutering

Where can I find more information about TNR?

Many animal advocate organizations are promoting this comprehensive approach to controlling cat overpopulation. Here are Websites with related information:

How Can We Help?

Make a Donation
As a nonprofit organization, we are pleased to set a rate schedule that will sustain our clinic and offer the lowest spay and neuter surgery rates in the community.  Donations made to the clinic will enable us to offer surgeries at even lower price points to underserved communities.

Donate Online

You can make a secure, online donation to support the clinic, or you can mail your gift to:
WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic
PO Box 13005
Salem, OR 97309

Volunteer
We have a number of volunteer opportunities in our new clinic, including animal care assistants, greeters and office assistants. If you’d like to volunteer in the clinic or in other parts of our shelter, the first step is to attend a Volunteer Orientation meeting and fill out an application. Meetings are generally held the first Monday and third Thursday of each month.

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Donate Supplies

Donations of supplies help keep overhead costs down and keep our clinic running smoothly. The clinic can always use the following supplies:

  • Paper towels
  • Bleach
  • Karo syrup
  • Wet dog and cat food

Spread the Word
Keeping our schedule full is crucial to our ability to keep our prices low, as well as to effectively reduce our area’s homeless pet population. Share on Facebook. Ask every pet owner you know if their pets have been spayed or neutered. Tell them how important it is and how affordable it can be at the WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic. If you or someone you know feeds stray cats, we also offer a special Feral Cat Package. Many kittens that end up in shelters came from feral mothers.

What’s the status of TNR in Marion and Polk counties?

While some animal welfare organizations in Marion and Polk counties have been pursuing TNR for a few years, there has been no regional coordinated effort to adopt TNR strategies. In 2013, several organizations serving Marion and Polk counties started working to promote TNR in a more effective and concentrated manner. They formed the Marion-Polk Community Cats Program. Partners include:

  • Coalition Advocating for Animals
  • Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon
  • Salem Friends of Felines
  • Willamette Humane Society
  • Willamette Valley Animal Hospital

The MPCCP purpose is to provide sterilization services to unowned cats in order to reduce cat overpopulation. (Sterilization services are defined as: Sterilization surgery, rabies vaccination, ear tip procedure, and FVRCP vaccination. Other veterinary services may be provided if determined necessary by the attending veterinarian.)

Partners estimate there are at least 30,000 stray, free-roaming and community cats in the two counties.

For more information or to volunteer, contact MPCCP at: MPCCP2014@gmail.com. You may request to receive periodic updates and meeting notices. The program needs experienced cat trappers to serve as mentors to others learning to trap unowned cats. If you are willing to be a mentor, let MPCCP know. Also, if you’d like to receive training to trap cats or help others with trapping, notify MPCCP.

Learn more about the MPCCP

Spay & Neuter Surgery Admission Terms and Conditions

WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic uses qualified staffing and approved materials for all procedures performed. It is important for you to understand that the risk of injury or death, although extremely low, is always present just as it is for humans who undergo surgery. Carefully read and understand the following before making an appointment:

I, acting as owner or agent of the pet named above, hereby request and authorize WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic, through whomever veterinarians they may designate, to perform an operation for sexual sterilization of the animal named on the above portion of this form.

  • I understand that the operation presents some hazards and that injury to or death of such an animal may conceivably result, for there is some risk in the procedure and the use of anesthetics and drugs in providing this service.
  • I either certify that my animal has been vaccinated within one year prior to this date or waive my right to protect my animal by having it vaccinated, or request recommended vaccinations at the time of surgery. I understand that it takes up to two weeks for vaccinations to protect my animal.
  • I understand the inherent risks of failing to maintain current vaccinations and waive all claims arising out of or connected with the performance of this operation due to such failure.
  • I certify that my animal is in good health and has had no food since 12:00 midnight the evening prior to surgery, unless otherwise instructed.
  • I understand that WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic has the right to refuse service to any animal to whom surgery is deemed a health risk.
  • I understand that WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic may not perform a complete physical examination before surgery is performed. I also understand that my animal will not receive pre-operative bloodwork at this clinic and that he/she may be at increased risk for complications associated with surgery or any medications given.
  • I understand that some factors significantly increase surgical risk and chance of post-operative complications, including but not limited to, pregnancy, heat, obesity, heart murmur and diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Leukemia, and internal or external parasites.
  • I understand that if my animal is pregnant, the pregnancy will be terminated at time of surgery.
  • I understand that if my animal has live fleas upon presentation, he/she may be given a short-acting flea killing medication.
  • I understand that if my animal has an open umbilical hernia, it will be repaired at time of surgery at an additional charge of $15.
  • I understand that if I don’t retrieve my pet at the agreed upon time that WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic will exercise its right to turn the animal over to Willamette Humane Society or Marion County Dog Control as allowed by the State of Oregon under Animal Abandonment and Possessory Chattel Lein laws. Owners of pets left after the agreed time and date shall be charged a boarding fee of no less than $10 per night, and their animals will be left unattended in the clinic after closing until staff arrive in the morning.

I hereby release the WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic, Willamette Humane Society, all veterinarians, assistants, volunteers, directors, and employees from any and all claims arising out of or connected with the performance of this procedure or any adverse reactions from vaccinations. I agree that I have not and will not claim any right of compensation from them, or any of them, or file action by reason of such sterilization or attempted sterilization of such animal or any consequences related thereto. Owner/ agent hereby agrees to indemnify and hold WHS Spay & Neuter Clinic harmless for any damages caused during the transportation or handling of the animal, or for any damages caused by any unforeseeable events including fire, vandalism, burglary, extreme weather, natural disasters, or acts of God.

YOUR ANIMAL WILL RECEIVE A SMALL TATTOO ON HIS/HER UNDERSIDE TO SHOW THAT S/HE HAS BEEN STERILIZED.

Where do free-roaming cats come from?

Many terms are used to describe the types of cats creating the over-population crisis. For simplicity, we are using the term “unowned” to describe cats that may have been abandoned or strayed from their homes, cats cared for by community members and feral cats that may be several generations removed from human contact.

Unowned cats are not a new phenomenon. Outdoor cats are part of our rich history in this country and worldwide. Cats have been living among us here in the U.S. for hundreds of years. Unowned cats are domestic cats. These cats thrive in every type of environment, urban, suburban and rural. Some are offspring of house cats because until the last two decades there has been no accessible and affordable spay and neuter services for cats. And, until recent years, early-age (kitten) spay/neuter was not practiced (kittens go into heat between 4 and 6 months, but traditional practice was to spay a cat at 6 months of age.)

Domestic cats came into existence about 10,000 years ago, when humans began farming. According to scientists, cats are one of the only animals who domesticated themselves—choosing to live near humans to feed on the rodents attracted by stored grain. Evolutionary research shows that the natural habitat of cats is outdoors in close proximity to humans—and that is how they have lived ever since. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1940s—and the invention of cat litter—that “indoors only” for cats was even a concept.

What are your open hours? How can we reach you?


  • Mon: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Tue: CLOSED
  • Wed: CLOSED
  • Thu – Fri: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Sat – Sun: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
4246 Turner Rd SE
Salem, OR 97317
503-585-5900Contact the Shelter

Receptionists are available to answer phones and return calls during business hours, and on Wednesday evening.


  • Mon – Sat: 10:30 am – 6:00 pm
  • Sun: CLOSED
548 High St NE (between Union & Marion)
Salem, OR 97301
503-362-6892Contact the Thrift Store



Is it safe for unowned cats to live outside?

The outdoors is the natural habitat for unowned cats. Evidence indicates they can live long and healthy lives: a 2006 study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery found that of 103,643 stray and feral cats examined in spay/neuter clinics in six states from 1993 to 2004, less than 1% of those cats needed to be euthanized due to debilitating conditions, trauma, or infectious diseases.

In addition, the lifespan of unowned cats compares favorably with the lifespan of pet cats. A long-term study (published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2003) of a Trap-Neuter-Return program noted that 83% of the cats present at the end of the observation period had been there for more than six years—meaning that the cats’ lifespans were comparable to the mean lifespan of 7.1 years for pet cats.

 

What is the legality of trapping cats in a live trap in the City of Salem?

In Oregon, dogs and cats are considered personal property.  It is theft of personal property when you “take, appropriate, obtain or withhold such property from an owner.”  (ORS 164-015).   So, while it is legal to trap a cat on your property, it may be construed as theft if you knowingly take property from an owner.

When people bring us a roaming animal that freely comes up to them or one they trapped, and provide us with the information we request on where and when the animal was found then that person has met their obligation.

Cats brought to Willamette Humane Society in a live-release trap are scanned for microchips if surrendered to the shelter, but not before spay & neuter surgery in the clinic.

What is an ‘eartip’ and why is it important for unowned, free-roaming cats?

We use the word “eartip” to describe when a small portion of the tip of an unowned cat’s left or right ear is surgically removed during neuter surgery, to denote that the cat has been neutered and vaccinated. Ear-tipping is done while the cat is anesthetized and is not painful for the cat. Ear tipping is the most effective way to identify spayed or neutered, unowned cats from a distance, to make sure they are not trapped or do not undergo surgery a second time.

Why can’t unowned cats be removed from an area or socialized and then adopted?

The traditional approach for unowned cats—catching and euthanizing—is endless and cruel, and it does not keep an area free of cats.

Cats choose to reside in a location for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. Because of a phenomenon called the vacuum effect, when cats are removed from a location,  new cats move in to take advantage of the food resources and shelter, then breed to capacity.

Many unowned cats are not socialized to people and cannot be touched, except sometimes by a regular caregiver.  The ideal window for socializing unowned kittens is 12 weeks of age or younger—beyond 12 weeks, unowned cats may never socialize completely or at all. Outdoor cats that are friendly and socialized to people are called stray cats, and sometimes they can be re-homed.

Because most unowned cats are not socialized to people, they are unadoptable as pets. In most shelters and pounds in the US, unadoptable animals are euthanized.  If a cat exhibits signs of being feral- and are surrendered to a shelter instead of being trapped, neutered or spayed, then returned to the area where they were found- they will most likely be euthanized.

Many shelters now realize that Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane approach for free-roaming, unowned cats.

Is relocation ever an option for unowned cats?

Relocation is something to consider only if remaining in their location becomes a threat to their lives, and all other options have been explored and have failed. Moving cats to another area is a great risk to their safety unless they are being moved to a protected area and procedures laid out by groups such as Alley Cat Allies are followed. People should choose relocation only if the cats’ territory is going to be demolished and there is no adjacent space suitable for them.

Do unowned and outdoor cats kill birds?

While unowned cats do kill birds, they kill proportionally more rodents. Other issues, such as the decline of natural habitat, deforestation of migratory habitats, window collisions and use of pesticides also have a negative impact on bird populations.

Do your part: spay/neuter your cat(s) before they have even one litter, and please don’t let your pet cats roam free outdoors. If you want your cat to have some time outside, make it safe for the cat AND local wildlife by building an outdoor enclosure, installing cat fencing, or taking your cat outside on a leash and enjoying some outdoor time together.

Some organizations are working  on initiatives including “Cats Safe at Home” to encourage people to not let their pet cats roam free.

Fewer free-roaming cats mean fewer unowned cats born on our streets. Fewer cats means less predation on wildlife.

How Can I Rent a Live-Release Trap for Cats?

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To Rent a Trap from the Willamette Humane Society Spay & Neuter Clinic

  • An appointment is required to rent a trap from the Willamette Humane Society Spay & Neuter Clinic.  Please call 503-480-SPAY.
    • There is a refundable $50 security deposit, but no rental fee if traps are returned undamaged.
  • Check a trap out in the clinic from 8:30 am to 11 am, and 1 pm – 3:30 pm. The standard rental period is 5 days.
  • A refundable deposit of $50 will be charged to your credit card. If the trap is returned within 5 days, the rental is free. If the trap has not been returned and no contact is made within 5 days, your card may be charged $50 and the trap becomes yours.



To Rent a Trap from Salem Friends of Felines

  • Call 503-362-5611
  • Trap availability is limited.  Trap rental is available only for Trap Neuter Return (TNR).
  • Fees are $15 per week plus a $50 refundable security deposit.


To Rent a Trap from Capitol Rental

  • Call 503-378-1122
  • Traps are available to rent for $15 a week plus security deposit.
  • Please call for details.



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What do I do if cats are sleeping under my porch, shed, crawl space, etc?

If cats are sleeping under your porch or somewhere else, the’re looking for dry, warm shelter. Lure the cats out with tuna or wet cat food. Block openings with chicken wire or other material to prevent nuisance dwellings in unwelcome areas.

Provide shelter in a small dog house in an alternative area, or research how to make feral cat shelters from large tote bins and insulation.

Follow directions to make sure they are spayed or neutered.

What do I do if I smell cat urine everywhere outside?

If you smell cat urine everywhere outside, practice TNR to have the offending cats neutered or spayed. Once they are “fixed” their urine becomes much less pungent, and they are less likely to mark their territory.

Learn more!