Feral Cats

Feral cats are domestic cats, just like pet cats and stray cats, but they differ from pet or stray cats in that they are not socialized to people. Hissing, growling, and running away are defense mechanisms that a feral cat will exhibit when approached by humans.

To help with population control of feral cats in the community, the East Bay SPCA offers discounted spay/neuter fees for feral cats. Surgeries are by appointment only; we do not take walk-ins.  

Learn more about what you can do regarding stray cats, feral cats, and kittens

Other Resources if You Find Feral Cats

Many organizations are dedicated solely to reducing the feral cat population, and improving the lives of existing feral cats. Below is a list of resources that link out to these organizations.

Qualifying For Feral Cat Spay/Neuter

Cat must be feral.

  • For our purposes, “feral” means a cat who lives in the wild and cannot be handled by people. If the cat can be picked up and placed in a carrier, it is not considered feral and is therefore ineligible for the reduced surgery fee. If a cat has a collar, it is an owned cat and is not eligible for surgery.

Cat must be over 4 months old.

  • Cats that are young enough to be tamed can be become adoptable. Therefore if a cat under 4 months of age is found, then the spay/neuter surgery can be performed, but it will be at our regular price.  

Cat must come in a humane trap.

  • Because feral cats are difficult to handle, it is for the safety of the staff and for the cat that the animal comes in a humane trap. Feral cats brought in boxes or regular carrier will be charged regular surgery fee.

 Cat must be visibly healthy.

  • A sick cat cannot be spayed or neutered because of the risks with anesthesia. For a successful surgery, the cat must be visibly healthy the day of surgery.  

Cat will have their right ear tipped.

  • The tipped ear notifies other people in the community that the cat has been altered and does not need to be trapped again.  
  • If the cat already has a tipped right ear, then this may mean it has already been altered. The veterinarian will verify if the ear has been tipped or otherwise injured.  

East Bay SPCA feral cat ear tip


Males & Females: $40

*This price includes two vaccines (Rabies and FVRCP).

**A deposit is NOT required for this type of appointment.

This program is offered at both our Oakland and Dublin facilities. 

Request Appointment

*If you are trying to book an appointment and no dates are appearing, then we do not have any available appointments at this time. New appointment spots will open on the 15th of every month.

What if You’ve Trapped An Ineligible Cat

You might accidentally trap a friendly, social, yet homeless cat! If the cat is a stray cat that you can handle, you have a few options:

  • You can surrender the cat to a municipal shelter. There are no guarantees, but if the cat is friendly, he/she is likely a good adoption candidate. The local animal control will accept all found animals in the city they serve, and they do not require any proof of ownership.
  • Other shelters and rescue groups have different surrender criteria, so if there are other groups you’d like to try to work with to place the cat, please contact them directly. Many people are surprised to learn that all shelters do not have the same animal intake policies!

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