Community Cats

Santa Barbara Humane offers a free spay or neuter program called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for stray or unowned community cats.

The best way you can help community cats is through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR ensures no new kittens are born, stabilizes cat populations, provides vaccines, and improves cats’ lives. It also stops the behaviors and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling, spraying, and fighting.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 805-971-1430

How you can make a difference:

  1. Pick up a humane trap at either Santa Barbara Humane campus. Provide a $85 deposit which is refunded when the trap is returned; there is no daily rental fee.
  2. Call 805-879-9705 to discuss appointment options.
  3. Set the trap the night before or morning of the appointment.
  4. Bring the trapped cat to the Santa Barbara or Santa Maria Veterinary Clinic the morning of surgery.
  5. Pick up the cat that afternoon, and release him or her back home that same day.
  6. Return the trap for a full refund of your deposit.

When to bring your trapped cat in for surgery

(Maximum of two cats per household)

Santa Barbara Campus

Community cat spay/neuter days vary at the Santa Barbara Campus. Please contact us to discuss a day and time for surgery:

Email: [email protected]
Call: 805-964-4777 ext. 205

Clinic Address
5399 Overpass Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93111

Directions >>

Santa Maria Campus
Drop-off Time: 7:15 AM


  • Tuesday, December 12th
  • Thursday, December 21st

If the above days don’t work for you, contact us at 805-964-4777 ext. 205 to discuss alternative options.

Clinic Address
1687 West Stowell Road
Santa Maria, CA 93458

Directions >>

Days will vary. Please call for availability:
805-964-4777 ext. 205


Set the trap the night before or morning of the appointment. Line the trap with newspaper and partially cover it with a sheet or towel to give the cat a sense of security. Make sure water is available, but stop feeding 24 hours in advance so the cat is motivated to enter the trap. Use a high-value food, such as tuna, to lure the cat into the trap.

Email [email protected] or call 805-971-1430 so we can work with you on a TNR plan.

Wild-born kittens older than eight weeks can be safely spayed or neutered and released back to the property. If you have kittens under eight weeks of age, Santa Barbara Humane is happy to help provide foster care, socialization, and placement through the adoption program. Email [email protected] or call 805-971-1430.

When the cat is under anesthesia, his or her left ear is surgically and painlessly ‘tipped.’ This immediate visual identification prevents an unnecessary second trapping and surgery. If you trap a cat that has been eartipped, simply release it at the trap site.

Outdoor cats that are thriving in their environment don’t belong in shelters. While your first instinct when you see a cat may be to call animal control or bring the cat to Santa Barbara Humane, studies have shown that even friendly, owned cats are better off being left alone than experiencing the stress of a shelter environment. Community cats are generally not socialized to people, so the most humane thing you can do is ‘TNR,’ and then provide the cat with access to food, water, and shelter where it lives—outdoors.

Need cat food to support community cats in your neighborhood? Email [email protected]

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