Special feral cat clinics for TNR
TNR clinics are high-volume, high-speed enterprises that are designed to handle feral cats exclusively. These clinics generally alter 50 or more cats at each event. Most require that cats be in traps and that they be ear-tipped during surgery. Most are also staffed entirely by volunteers, including the veterinarians who perform the surgeries, which means costs can be kept as low as possible.
In Baltimore, there are two TNR clinics. One is put on by CCMD and held at BARCS, the city animal shelter. The other is organized by and held at the Maryland SPCA. Both clinics charge $20 per cat--this includes the spay/neuter, rabies and distemper vaccinations, topical flea treatment, ear cleaning, and ear tip. (At the MDSPCA clinics, the $20 price applies only to cats from colonies within Baltimore City; cats from outside the city are still accepted but the cost is $40 per cat.) Minor medical issues (like wounds and upper respiratory infections) can also be addressed, time and resources permitting. There is a nominal extra charge if the cat requires medication (like antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection).
These clinics are definitely the least expensive option in the Baltimore area, but the appointments are also in high demand, and you may end up waiting a month or more to get an appointment, especially during the height of "kitten season." Both clinics require that appointments be made in advance.
The main difference between the two clinics is that for the SPCA clinic, cats are dropped off in the morning and picked up later that same day. This means that caretakers need to keep the cats indoors, in their traps, the night before the clinic and the night after, while they recover. For the CCMD clinic at BARCS, cats are dropped off Saturday afternoon, have their surgeries Sunday, and can stay at the clinic until Monday afternoon. So our clinic tends to be a better option for people who don't have a good place to "store" the cats at home.
However, our clinic also tends to have a long waiting list for appointments -- it can take 2 to 3 months to get an appointment, and even longer during the busy summer months. If you are able to house the cats before and after surgery, we encourage you to use the SPCA's clinic, since you are likely to be able to get the cats fixed much more quickly.
CCMD policy on FIV/FELV testing
The purpose of theTNR program is to improve the life of each and every feral cat. We do that by spaying and neutering, by vaccinating for rabies, by providing cats with warm safe shelters and with a regular supply of food. Once cats are neutered, nuisance behaviors such as fighting and territorial marking diminish, and procreation ceases. Diseases that would have been spread by mating are no longer an issue. Each cat's life is improved. The stress on each caretaker and community is diminished.
Testing for FIV and FeLV are not a part of the TNR feral cat program. FIV is a common virus that is found in domestic felines (feral cats) and in their wild counterparts (African lions). Cats testing positively for FIV can live long healthy lives. It does not make sense to test for this virus and subsequently kill the cat who tests positively because one day in the future, she may one day become less healthy. Spaying and neutering also decrease the odds of spreading FeLV and FIV. FeLV is often spread from mother to kittens. Once the adult female is spayed the kitten vector stops functioning. Additionally FeLV and FIV tests can show false positives (and negatives). We do not use these tests to manage feral cat colonies.
Ready to request spots at a clinic?
CCMD's clinic at BARCS is usually held on the 3rd Sunday of the month. (These dates do vary sometimes due to holidays or other events; see our calendar for upcoming dates and please call or email to confirm.) If you are ready to request spaces at our clinic, click here to fill out a form with your information. You MUST fill out the form to get “on the list” for spaces.
You can get appointments at the SPCA's clinics by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the SPCA at 410-235-8826 and speaking to Judy at ext. 105 (Tuesday-Saturday from 12-5 PM). The SPCA's feral cat clinics are usually held on the 2nd Saturday of each month; see our calendar of upcoming dates (call or email to confirm).