What is TNRM?

TNRM stands for Trap – Neuter – Return/Release – Manage. People often think that merely feeding and watering stray animals in their area is enough. And don’t get us wrong, it’s GREAT that you would provide food and water to these poor animals in need. But it’s not enough. The strays will start trusting you (awesome!) but when they get pregnant and need to give birth in a safe place, they will also come to you (uh-oh, now what?). We often get calls/e-mails/inquiries saying “A stray cat gave birth in my yard/closet! Can you take them all?” As much as we would like to help, we are not always able to take in new intakes if we have our hands full, which is often the case. Therefore, we believe that it is the responsibility of the community and the community feeders to take the proactive step in TNRM-ing the local stray population.

So what are the steps for TNRM? Here are the basic tools you need first:

  • Cage/carrier
  • Long piece of string (if you have to close the door to the cage/carrier from afar).
  • Towel (to immediately cover up the cage/carrier to calm her down)
  • Food (for the day of trapping, the stinkier the food the better)
  • An appointment at the vet (vets will not accept walk-ins for spay/neuter appointments)
  • Small space in your bathroom or closet to let her recover post-surgery
  1. Establish a feeding schedule. Once you start feeding the local strays consistently twice a day (say 8 am and 8 pm) for a few days, you will notice that they start coming out and waiting for you at feeding time.
  2. Gain their trust by slowly starting to get closer to them and touching them.
  3. Once you are familiar enough with them, put out a cage or carrier and start feeding the stray in the cage/carrier so she learns not to fear it.
  4. When the stray is comfortable with the cage/carrier and has no issues going in it, call your local vet to make a spay/neuter appointment. If your vet frequently works with rescues, they may offer you a special rescue rate.
  5. Catch the stray in the cage/carrier the evening before your vet appointment, as the stray should fast at least for 8-12 hours prior to surgery. Immediately cover the cage/carrier once the stray is caught. She will calm down if she can’t see anything. If the stray is nervous or not that friendly, best to keep her in the cage/carrier the entire time until her surgery.
  6. Bring her in to the vet. **Ask the vet for an ear tip.** This is very important! An ear tip marks the stray as a spayed/neutered animal and may save its life if the local council is culling the population. Please also confirm with the vet that he/she is using sutures that are absorbed into the body – as in, you don’t have to come back to remove the stitches.
  7. If you can, we also recommend that you ask the vet to de-worm them (usually RM 5) and vaccinate them with live vaccines so adults only need it once (somewhere between RM 40-50).
  8. Pick up the stray after her surgery, and let her recover for a few days; some vets also offer boarding services which may or may not be included in the surgery price. In the case of neutered males, they can be released as soon as 48 hours after the surgery as long as there are no other complications. In the case of spayed females, they can be released about 5-7 days after the surgery as long as there are no other complications such as infected stitches.
  9. Release her at her usual spot. Do NOT release them where they’ve never been, as this is dangerous for them – they won’t know where to get food/water and be able to assess the dangers.
  10. Continue to feed her. This is the “Manage” part of TNRM.