Feral Cats

The MRFRS got its start as a feral cat organization. While the feral cat problem in Newburyport and surrounding areas is largely under control, MRFRS still operates several volunteer-staffed feral cat feeding stations in the local area, co-runs monthly feral spay/neuter clinics in conjunction with the MSPCA, loans humane traps, and teaches others the practice of TNR (trap-neuter-return). Read on for more information on feral cats and how you can help them:


What is a feral cat?

A feral cat is one that has been abandoned by its human caregivers and has reverted back to its innate, wild instincts in order to survive. It can also be the offspring of abandoned cats and may never have had contact with humans. They will generally not approach humans voluntarily. When spayed/neutered, and provided with a steady feeding source and shelters, feral cats can often live long, happy lives outdoors.

I have feral cats in my back yard. What should I do?

MRFRS endorses TNR (trap-neuter-return) for feral cats as the most effective and humane method for controlling and caring for feral cat populations. Feral cats are almost never happy indoors, and have very little chance of being adopted. Relocating feral cats is always the very last option that should be considered.


MRFRS is happy to help you learn to trap feral cats and provide you with access to free or very low-cost spay/neuter. Please note that we cannot accept feral cats (other than very small kittens) into our adoption program, and that it is your responsibility to provide a safe location to hold feral cats before and after their surgery.


You can email for more help on learning how to TNR (trap-neuter-return) your ferals, and/or check out some of the resources listed later in this section. If you are outside the MRFRS service area, please visit MassCats to post a request to this state-wide group, or check with some of the organizations listed at the bottom of our Sunday Feral Spay/Neuter Clinics page. In addition, these clinics are open to anyone, anywhere, as long as a reservation is made in advance.


Do you rent out traps?

Yes, we do. It is $5 to rent a trap for a week, plus a $40 refundable deposit. We have a number of box traps available for rental, as well as several transfer cages, and two drop traps. Traps can be rented during normal business hours. Sorry, we do not take reservations for traps. Please call us or email info@mrfrs.org for more information and details. We will be glad to show you how to use the traps, and give you tips on trapping.


Other Sources of Information on Feral Cats

Alley Cat Allies great information on TNR, caring for feral cats, socializing feral kittens, and advocacy

Neighborhood Cats – great information for caretakers of feral cats, and those looking to conduct TNR programs


Check out this great plan for a very inexpensive feral cat shelter you can build yourself!


Also visit our Sunday Feral Spay/Neuter Clinic page for information on those clinics, and links to other area organizations with feral spay/neuter clinics and TNR organizations.