TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return): Trapping Day at the South San Francisco Feral Cat Colony

Posted on 12/8/11
By:  Deanna Graham
Nine Lives Foundation Board Member

A few weeks ago, three Homeless Cat Network volunteers, Wendy, Gina and Cookie met at the South San Francisco feral colony to trap cats.  They used the drop trap because it's been difficult to trap Bushy Tail.  They set up the drop trap in an open area and set two traps by the feeding station in hopes of trapping a new cat, Midnight.

      "Traps are set..."

 "Here Kitty, Kitty..."

 "The Waiting Game..."


Many of the neutered/spayed colony cats went into the trap to nibble on the dry food on the ground, but finally the hours of waiting paid off.  Bushy Tail and Thumper went in the trap together and started nibbling on the food, Wendy pulled the string and they had them.  Two trapped cats can move the trap, but they were ready.  It took three of them, working as a team, to hold the trap down.  Gina put her body across the trap while Wendy was ready to open the trap and transfer the cats to another trap for transport.  Cookie spoke quietly and gently to the two terrified cats to calm them.

When Bushy Tail and Thumper were safely in the transport trap, Cookie went to the feeding station to check on the traps there.  Happily, they got Midnight.  Cookie says, "Luck was on our side."

"We got Midnight!..."

The cats were transported to Dr. Monica Thompson Rudiger at Nine Lives Foundation.  Thumper was already fixed, but needed to have his left ear tipped.  Now the feeders at the South San Francisco colony will know that Thumper is fixed and he'll never go through that again.  Sadly, Dr. Rudiger found out that Bushy Tail was FeLV+ and could not be returned to the colony.  The volunteers were afraid he would have to be euthanized, but Dr. Rudiger told them Bushy Tail could join the other FeLV+ cats in Room 9 at the Nine Lives shelter at 3016 Rolison Road, Redwood City, CA.  Dr. Rudiger neutered Bushy Tail, gave him his vaccinations and had to do extensive dental work on him.  She told me that Bushy will only let her pet him, and she told me, "He's my buddy."

As for Midnight, Gina is fostering him because she feels he is a friendly, loving cat who was probably dumped by his owners or maybe he got lost and found his way to the colony.  She feels he definitely was a house cat at one time.  Gina will find him his forever home, and as Cookie says, "Another blessing for our South San Francisco Colony."

Cookie, Wendy, and Gina are deeply thankful for all the care and love Dr. Rudiger has showered on their colony cats.  Dr. Rudiger kept Poppy, another SSF colony cat that was trapped, but not returned to the colony because the pads on his paws wouldn't heal properly and the outdoors was not the place for him.  Now Poppy makes his home at the Nine Lives shelter and spends a lot of his time roaming around.  Rose, another HCN Feeder, saw him at NLF a few weeks ago and was able to pet him.

"Wendy, Gina and Cookie"

The majority of the colony cats at South San Francisco will live out their lives in the colony, but some have been trapped, fostered and found loving homes.  Thanks to Cookie, Wendy, Gina, Rose and the other volunteers at HCN for working closely with Dr. Rudiger to make sure these abandoned, lost or throw-away cats are given the best life possible.

Another HCN success story.....Wendy, a long time trapper at HCN, trapped three kittens at the SSF colony some time ago, and Gina fostered them because they were ill.  With TLC and a lot of love, the kittens are healthy and going to kitten fairs, just waiting to go to their forever homes.  Both HCN and NLF have these wonderful success stories of lost kittens and cats finding loving homes.  To read more, you can go to and and read about the incredible job they're doing.  You can also follow NLF by going to our Nine Lives Foundation Facebook page.


cookie said...

We do this from our heart to help our furry friends. purrs Cookie

Terri Eckley said...

What a great post...I was trying to find information on different types of traps and came across this post... I have a Male that is causing havoc in my colony and he walks by the baited trap I have set out in my yard with only one thing in mind find females and beat up all the males in the colony...I am trying to trap my last mom but she has been staying away to protect her kittens that are now just about 8 weeks...I have met Gina Wendy and I wish there were more people like them...Gina helped me recover from my first trapping..I was a mess...

Ualani said...

Love these ladies! Thanks for all you do for the cats, you are rock stars!!! And same to nine lives! Kudos to the photographer for getting these ladies in action.