In 2020, Dakin launched The Kitten Street Team, a program to address a critical need in our community. The goal of this team of specially-trained volunteers is to assist in controlling feral (wild) cat populations in the Pioneer Valley. TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is a humane and effective way to prevent unwanted litters of kittens born outside year after year. Together, we can help more cats live safe, healthy lives.

What are Feral Cats?

Feral cats are cats that have had very little to no social contact with humans. A kitten learns that people are good in the first weeks of its life through handling and social contact. If this contact never takes place, the cat will not be social toward humans and will hiss, growl, and run away when approached. Feral cats live outdoors with other cats and do not want to live indoors with people. Feral cats do not meow and will not approach humans to solicit attention.

How Does TNR Work?

TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is the process of finding a colony of feral cats, humanely trapping them to provide spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, then returning them safely to their outdoor home. TNR helps keep feral cats safe and protected from unwanted litters and diseases like Rabies and Distemper. During surgery, they receive an ear tip - the universal sign that this kitty has already been trapped and fixed. Ear tips are completely painless and only remove ⅛” from the tip of the ear.

By supporting the TNR work of Dakin’s Kitten Street Team, you are helping to keep feral cats safe and prevent a future of critically ill, orphaned kittens with no place to go.

Request Help with Feral Cats

The need for our services is great, and there is a waiting list, so your patience is greatly appreciated. We have few volunteers and many requests for help. We prioritize situations that involve young kittens because just a few weeks difference in age determines whether they can go into Dakin's adoption program or must remain in their outdoor home. We are also able to respond more quickly when you can assist with trapping and/or transport. Our services are free, but your support enables us to afford traps, trap food, gas, and veterinary care.

If you are caring for, or aware of feral cat colonies in your community and are unable to perform TNR yourself, please contact Dakin’s Kitten Street Team. Our service area includes Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties. This program is solely operated by volunteers and response time will vary based on the team's availability. The contact form is for adult cats only.

If you come upon kittens born outside, call Dakin immediately at (413) 781-4000. Kittens born outside are often sick and in need of urgent care.

Get Involved - Volunteer Opportunities

Kitten Street Team volunteers outside

Looking to get hands-on experience as a volunteer member of Dakin’s Kitten Street Team?

Other Ways to Support The Kitten Street Team

Dakin’s programs are made possible through the generosity of our supporters. As the only non-profit, full-service animal welfare organization serving our region, there is a critical need for accessible veterinary care, preventative care for feral cats, emergency pet food aid, and more. Our programs are funded and maintained with your support and change the lives of pets and their people every day. Keep up with the Kitten Street Team by signing up for our free eNewsletter, What’s Shakin’ at Dakin.

Support the work of the Kitten Street Team by shopping our Amazon wish list.

Additional Resources

For information on the basics of TNR, working positively with neighbors, post-surgical care, and more, click here for a resource from The San Francisco SPCA.