TNR Surgery has been cancelled for 9/20/2023.

Community Cat Programs at MAC

McKamey Animal Center aims to improve the lives of free-roaming, community, and/or feral cats in our community by returning spayed and neutered cats to their outdoor homes. Returning spayed and neutered cats is a humane and effective method to control the outdoor cat population by ensuring these cats are not reproducing multiple times a year.


Community cats are unowned cats that live outdoors in the community. They may be feral or friendly, may have been born in the wild, and may have a caretaker. These cats are not the same as a domesticated pet cat.

Trap Loan Program

Want to help control the feral (unowned) cat population in your neighborhood? Do you live in the city of Chattanooga, Red Bank, or Lakesite? MAC is helping cats through our TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program! We stabilize the population by preventing litters of kittens from being born, and returning them to their environment. This keeps new cats from moving in and having more litters. 


Traps are available to rent for a $15 user fee + refundable deposit for residents of our service areas.

  • CAT TRAP – $50 ($15 User Fee + $35 Refundable Deposit)


If you return the trap in working condition within 10 days you will receive your refundable deposit. If your trap is not returned within 10 days of rental, $1 per day rental fee will be taken out of your deposit.


All trapped cats brought in for surgery must follow the surgery drop-off guidelines listed on our spay/neuter services page. All community cats will receive an ear tip during surgery. This is the universal sign to Community Cat caretakers and trappers, that the cat has been spayed/neutered.

How to TNR a Community Cat
  • Establish a feeding pattern by feeding once a day at the same time for at least 1 week before trapping. Make sure to pick up all leftovers after about 30 minutes.
  • Count the number of cats in your area that need to be spayed/neutered. An ear-tip indicates that a cat has already been spayed/neutered and does NOT need to be trapped.
  • Prepare the trap(s) by using enticing, smelly food and line traps with a material, such as newspaper, to support the cat’s feet and absorb urine/feces while the cat is in the trap.
  • Set trap(s) close to their feeding area. Make sure to place the trap against a wall, fence, curb, etc., and that the ground is even. Add a trail of bait gravy/treats leading to the opening of the trap.
  • Wait for cats to be trapped. Cats can sense your presence and anxiety so make sure not to be too close or stare at them while they are investigating the trap.
  • When you catch a cat. If a cat is calm, do not immediately go retrieve them because that may scare the other cats away. If a cat is not calm, quickly cover the trap with a blanket or towel and remove it from the area.
  • Housing. After you catch the cats, they need to be kept in a quiet, temperature-controlled place. Line the flooring with a trap or protective material for easy clean up. Make sure they stay covered and have access to water. Use a Trap Fork to safely place a water bowl in the trap.
  • Transport. Line your vehicle with appropriate protection. Take them to McKamey for spay/neuter. Please check our spay/ neuter page for more details about the process, dates, times.

Tips for Dealing with Community Cats

If you need assistance feeding community cats (or your owned pets), we may be able to help with our Community Food Pantry Program. Please call us for assistance at (423) 305-6500.

If you have community cats that are causing nuisance or damage to your home, there are things you can do to humanely drive them away from your home.

See the list below.

See below for handouts on simple ways to build your own shelters for outdoor cats.

What Can A Feral Cat Shelter Look Like?

DIY Outdoor Cat Winter Shelter


Do You Have Cats in Places They Don’t Belong?


Watch this short video from our friends at Best Friends Animal Society for a list of great ideas to keep cats out of places they don’t belong, like gardens.

Topping your beds with decorative garden items like lava rock, pine cones, and bark will help deter cats from digging in your garden.


Place bamboo chopsticks point side up in potted plants or flower beds to keep cats from digging in them.

Place large river rocks in your garden to prevent cats from digging. Rocks have the added benefit of deterring weeds.

Put pieces of plastic carpet runners, spike-side up, covered lightly in soil in your garden to keep cats from digging in the beds. Lay them over your car, spike-side up, to keep cats from lounging on your vehicles.

Instantly scares cats and other animals away with a motion activated blast of ultrasonic sound and strobe lights.

Eliminate roaming pest animal problems with this aggressive ultrasonic and flashing light animal repeller.

Patented all-natural organic formula repels by taste and odor. Contains oil of black pepper, peperine and capsaicin.

Protects up to 1,900 square feet of gardens, yards and ponds with infrared technology and will deter cats.