What is TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), and why does it work?

Here’s how TNR works:

  • A feral colony is identified.
  • The cats are trapped humanely.
  • The cats are transported to a clinic for their spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination (at minimum).
  • The cats have their left ear “tipped” for future identification.
  • The cats are returned to their colony within 24 – 48 hours.
  • Volunteers feed and care for the cat colony on a daily basis.

TNR stabilizes the colony size by eliminating new litters. It also reduces the nuisance behavior associated with unsterilized cats. TNR’s most measurable effect is that fewer cats/kittens flow through animal shelters, resulting in lower euthanasia rates and increased adoptions of shelter cats.

For more information on TNR please visit                   

Pawmetto Lifeline Clinic Feral Cat Policies

Thank you for choosing the Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic. We are an NSNRT certified Spay/Neuter Clinic and follow all standards of care set forth by the Humane Alliance, the gold standard in high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter.

Our mission is to provide affordable, high-quality spay and neuter surgery to help reduce the amount of unwanted pets that end up euthanized in municipal shelters. Each year in Lexington and Richland Counties over 18,000 dogs and cats are euthanized due to the pet overpopulation epidemic and over 60% of those euthanized are cats. Feral cats in municipal shelters are automatically euthanized, and the only way to put an end to this tragedy is to spay and neuter every Feral possible. We are committed to working with groups and individuals working on trap-neuter-release (TNR) and hope that our flexibility and pricing will allow you to help more cats in your community.

What is a Feral Cat?

A feral cat is one that lives outside and is not socialized to humans. Feral cats can have the same lifespan, and the incidence of disease is just as low, as companion cats. Feral cats can live long, healthy lives, content in their outdoor home.

Feral cats typically live in colonies where they have access to food and shelter. An unmanaged colony can become a problem, with rampant breeding, and the onset of problem mating behaviors (fighting, yowling, etc.). However, feral cats should not be taken to the animal shelter, as they are not adoptable and can only be euthanized. Catching and killing the cats does not work. When cats are removed from an area, survivors breed to capacity or new cats move in (This is known as the “vacuum effect,” and is well-documented).

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the most humane and effective method available to end the severe feral cat overpopulation crisis faced by this country. This method has been endorsed by national animal welfare groups, as well as many animal control departments, as the best option for feral cats and the communities they inhabit.

Pawmetto Lifeline Clinic Feral Cat Policies

In the interest of giving the cats the very best medical attention possible, we have developed special protocol for feral cats at our clinic:

  1. Feral cat surgeries are on Monday through Thursday only.
  2. For the sake of their health, all kittens must be 2 pounds before they can be altered.  It is sometimes difficult to tell if they are of weight just by looking at them.  If you trap kittens and they are declined for surgery due to being underweight there will be a $10 fee charged per kitten that is declined.  Please understand that we cannot weigh the kittens until they are anesthetized and must cover our cost associated with that procedure.
  3.  One or two feral cats do not need an appointment; however, 3 or more on any given day do require an appointment. If you are planning a “trapping blitz” (a large number of traps being set at one time), please contact the clinic a week in advance so that we can adjust our schedule and plan for a greater than typical number of surgeries on the anticipated day.
  4. Feral cats must be checked in by 9:30  am (8 am – 9:30 am) and must be picked up the following morning at 7:30 am. We do assess late fees for late pick-up.
  5. All feral cats must come to the clinic in a secure, live-release trap. No exceptions. This is for the well-being of the cats and the safety of our staff. If they are tame enough to be put in a carrier, they will not be considered feral, and a regular surgical appointment must be scheduled.  If the cat is found to be tame upon intake, a regular surgical fee will apply. Please totally cover the trap with a large towel or sheet upon capture and keep the trap covered until drop-off for surgery. Please do not put bedding, towels, metal plates or cans inside the trap.
  6. Feral cats must be fasted by the trapper - no food after 7am the day of surgery. If there is a food bowl in the trap with the cat, please just turn it over.
  7. Any cat that arrives in a live-release trap will not receive a physical exam to determine fitness for anesthesia prior to receiving anesthesia.
  8. We will not conduct combo tests on feral cats.  Alley Cat Allies does not support testing feral cats for FeLv or FIV.  Considering the cost of the test in conjunction with the low rates of disease (1-2% of feral populations according to ACA), low likelihood of transmission between adult cats, poor viability of the virus , the fact that we will not euthanize an asymptomatic positive cat, we believe that funds are more effectively invested in providing spay/neuter services.  For further questions, we encourage you to visit
  9. All feral cats will receive an ear tip.  The only exception is feral kittens under 12 weeks of age brought in by an 501(c)3 agency that intends to socialize them and adopt them out.
  10. Our feral cat surgery price is $40 which includes: surgery, rabies  vaccine, ear tip and tattoo.

Please contact the clinic if you have any questions about these policies at (803) 465-9100 or


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