Animal Control


In the United States, there are programs called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) that help control the number of feral cats. Some cats are called "feral" because they are wild, unsocialized, and not used to people.

In Cedar Rapids, there are more feral cats now than there were after the 2008 Flood. Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control is seeking to add a TNR program as part of Chapter 23 of our City Code. We hope that with new rules, there will be fewer complaints about cats, fewer cats at the animal shelter, and fewer cats being euthanized.

The idea comes from looking at what's worked in other communities, talking to experts, listening to our community members through various public input sessions, and reviewing data.

The people at Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control have been listening to what the community thinks about these changes. We are happy that so many people in the community care about what is best for our cats. 

Right now, we need to hear additional input from the community before we submit the TNR proposal to City Council. This way we can be sure we are advancing a plan that considers the needs of our community and has support.

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Please take a moment and read the FAQ section below regarding the proposed Trap-Neuter-Return program.  After reviewing the questions, feel free to participate in our public survey about feral cats and their impact on you:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Tap on a question to view the corresponding answer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

TNR reduces feral cat numbers by trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and returning them to the area they were trapped. Over time, the feral cat population will be reduced by restricting reproduction rates. This method also reduces the number of cats euthanized in local animal shelters.

Why is it necessary to include TNR in a revised ordinance?

Currently, TNR is illegal. Including a structured program in the revised Chapter 23 allows community members to perform TNR, and allows the Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control (CRACC) to positively support the community members performing TNR.

What is the difference between a feral cat and stray or community cat?
Feral cats are any cat which is unowned, wild, untamed and unsocialized. Community cats or stray cats are cats that have been socialized to people and can be adopted into homes. TNR targets feral cats.  Stray or community cats will be brought to a shelter or rescue to be evaluated and adopted to new homes. 
Will pet cats be allowed to run at large?
No, pet cats are required to stay indoors and not leave their own property if outdoors. There are many challenges outdoor cats face including other cats, dogs, cars, and the increased risk of getting parasites or other zoonotic diseases.
What if I don't want feral cats in my yard?
There are several tactics using humane deterrents to keep cats out of your yard. If humane deterrents are not an option, community members are still able to trap cats from their private property and bring the cats to CRACC. If an identifiable feral cat is impounded three times, it will not be returned to the area.
Is there a permit required to TNR?
Yes, permits will be available on the CRACC website, at the shelter, or e-mail and request the form via e-mail. Animal Control Officers will also carry forms in their vehicles. Once permitted, individuals will be considered a Feral Cat Manager.
Is there a fee for the permit?
No. There is no fee charged for the TNR permit.
What is needed for the permit?
Permits will ask for contact information (name, address, phone number) and the location where TNR is being performed. This information is requested so CRACC can educate and answer questions for nearby community members about TNR. It also allows CRACC to contact a Feral Cat Manager when a feral cat is impounded; either to return it to the area it was trapped, or to have it spayed/neutered. This also decreases the number of cats being held at CRACC.
What do Feral Cat Managers need to do?
  1. Feral Cat Managers will need written permission from mobile park management, landlords, apartment complex management or homeowner’s association allowing them to TNR.
  2. Feral Cat Managers will need to hang a door tag or notice on properties within a two-block radius of a feeding station, forty-eight (48) hours in advance of setting the feeding station up. This gives notice to community members in the area to ensure their cats stay indoors. It can be used as an educational tool as well, with information on how to deter cats from their property.
  3. In addition to having feral cats spayed or neutered, they must be implanted with a microchip, vaccinated against rabies and ear-tipped. 
  4. Feeding stations shall be set out 30 minutes after sunrise and picked up 30 minutes before sunset. This will reduce contact between feral cats and wildlife - reducing the chance of zoonotic diseases to spread.
  5. Feeding stations shall be located one hundred fifty (150) yards from parks, conservation lands, beaches, wildlife areas, childcare centers and schools.
  6. After a colony is 90% spayed or neutered, the Feral Cat Manager shall cease feeding and trapping in that area.
Where can I review the proposed ordinance changes?
Once you're familiar with the FAQ, please take 2-3 minutes and participate in our community-wide survey.
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