The free Trap-Neuter-Return Program is an effective and humane way to stabilize the cat population with free spay or neuter surgeries for community cats.
Miami-Dade County residents can use their own trap or rent one from Animal Services to capture the cat, then take it to the Pet Adoption and Protection Center. The cat is sterilized and receives a rabies vaccine, the feline booster shot FRCPC and an ear tip (to confirm that he or she has been sterilized).
You can then choose to have the cat returned to you or to the area where it was picked up. Cats not picked up from the Pet Adoption and Protection Center after several days will be released back to the community they came from. Injured or diseased cats are not released back into the community.
Residents can also present community cats to local participating veterinarians for free as part of the partnership with the Miami Veterinary Foundation. Residents must schedule appointments directly with the veterinary provider of their choice.
Bringing a cat to the shelter for surgery
- You must provide a valid driver's license and sign one release form per cat.
- Cats may be presented for TNR at the Animal Services Department seven days a week, Monday - Sunday, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. No appointment is required.
- Cats need to be brought in a carrier.
- You will be provided a time to pick the cat up after surgery. If you cannot pick the cat or cats up, they will be delivered back to the community they came from.
- There is no limit to the number of community cats per person.
Cat Trapping Tips
Below are a few tips on trapping community cats.
- You may have more success trapping if you withhold food 24-36 hours prior to trapping and then trap at the usual feeding times.
- Place a thin layer of paper in the trap if the wind is not too strong to move the paper around.
- Place the bait, usually canned cat food or tuna fish, into the far back of the cage and secure the door with the clip.
- Place the cage in an area where stray cats are often observed.
- Place the cage on a level surface. If placing on grass and soil make sure the door will close completely.
- After setting the cage, it maybe helpful to place a sheet or pillow case over the cage.
- Cats often venture into enclosed areas.
- Remove yourself from the immediate area.
- Check the cage as often as possible. It is not recommended to leave the traps unobserved for any length of time.
- After the cat has been caught, completely cover the cage with a sheet or a large pillow case. This helps to calm the cat.
- Please do not allow children or pets near the cage.
- Place the cat in a protected area where the elements will not harm the cat and transport it to Miami-Dade Animal Services as soon as possible.
- When transporting the cat in a car, place a trash bag or tarp under the cage. Keep the cage covered. Do not transport the cat in the closed trunk of the car or in the back of an open pick-up truck.
If you live in a multifamily community, the homeowners association is responsible for handling the stray cats.
Eligibility & Requirements
- The pet owner must be a Miami-Dade County resident.
- Spay & neuter surgeries are by appointment only.
- Pet must be checked-in by 7:30 a.m. the day of the animal's scheduled surgery.
- No food or water after 9 p.m. the night before surgery.
- Pets must be at least three months old and weigh over three pounds.
- Veterinarian may decline surgery due to health reasons.
- Proof of current rabies vaccination for pets over four months of age must be presented at check-in.
- Rabies vaccine can be obtained the day of surgery.
- Microchip implants can be obtained on the day of surgery.
Note: All cats must be presented for surgery in individual carriers. Multiple pets per carrier do not allow for a safe post-operative environment and will not be accepted for services. Disposable carriers are available for purchase at the time of drop off.
Caring for Your Pet After Surgery
Spaying and neutering is one of the most responsible ways dog and cat owners can care for their pet.
Female animals are spayed, which means their ovaries and uterus are surgically removed and they are unable to go into heat or get pregnant.
Male animals are neutered, which means their testicles are surgically removed. After surgery, the male cat or dog will be unable to impregnate females.
Here are some tips to care for your pet after surgery:
- There are no skin sutures to be removed, but your pet has been tattooed. This is to identify him/her as sterilized.
- Check the incision twice daily and watch for any discharge, foul odor or significant swelling.
- Contact a veterinarian immediately if you notice vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or continued bleeding.
- Don't allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision, as it will delay healing.
- It may be necessary for you to purchase an Elizabethan collar at your local pet supply store to prevent your pet from injuring himself or herself.
- Your pet was given anesthesia for surgery, which sometimes makes pets feel nauseous. Offer your pet a small amount of food and water but if they do not want to eat, do not force them.
- Your pet was also given an injection of a pain reliever (Rimadyl®) that lasts 24 hours. Do not give your pet any other medications, especially human medications which are deadly to pets.
- Although spay or neuter is a common surgery, it is still a major surgery. Therefore, it is very important to limit their activity to allow them to recover.
- Do not allow them to run, jump or engage in rough play for a full week after surgery.
- A pet normally kept outdoors should be kept indoors for at least 24 hours as they recover from the anesthesia.
- For cats, please use shredded newspaper instead of litter to help keep the incision clean.
- You may bathe your pet after seven days, but do not submerge them in water and do not scrub the incision.
Locations and Hours
Pet Adoption and Protection Center3599 NW 79 Avenue, FL 33122Monday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Tuesday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Wednesday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Thursday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Friday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Saturday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Sunday7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.