Community Cats FAQ

Where can I purchase or rent a humane trap to be used for TNVR?
You can purchase traps from Tractor Supply, Lowes, Home Depot and Amazon, among other retailers. The Richmond SPCA has traps for loan to community cat caregivers using the services of our Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic. When scheduling a TNVR appointment with us, please let us know if you wish to borrow a trap.
I want to have my own dog or cat spayed or neutered. How can I schedule an appointment?
Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic performs spays and neuters for dogs and cats in the care of local government shelters and private rescue groups (registered 501c3 organizations only) as well as free-roaming, unowned community cats. For a list of low-cost spay and neuter clinics providing services for owned pets, please visit the “Other Providers of Spay/Neuter Appointments” section at the bottom of our main page.
What services does Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic provide? How much do these services cost?
Ancillary services are available at the time of spay or neuter surgery. For a complete list of services, please visit the “Services” section of our main page for information. Please email if you have any questions.
At what age will Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic sterilize a dog or cat?
Pets must typically be at least 2 pounds or at least 2 months of age in order to be spayed or neutered in our clinic. Our veterinarians reserve the right to delay a procedure if, in their professional judgment, the pet is not healthy or big enough for surgery.
Will you spay or neuter an animal with medical issues?
It is very important that you disclose any known medical issues for an animal at the time you schedule the animal’s appointment. Our veterinarian will review the information and discuss any concerns with you. All decisions regarding a pet’s fitness for sterilization will be made by the veterinarian.
Can I just show up? How do I make an appointment?
All animals who arrive at our clinic for sterilization must have an appointment, and all appointments must be scheduled in advance. We are not able to take walk-ins. We offer a self-service online scheduling system that operates on a first-come, first-serve basis for unowned, free-roaming community cat appointments. Please contact us at or 804-368-6232 for registration and scheduling information.
What happens if I am late dropping off or picking up an animal I have brought for a surgery appointment?
We offer a 15-minute grace period for drop offs and pick ups.
Animals arriving more than 15 minutes late for their appointments will need to be rescheduled for another surgery day. Clients picking up animals more than 15 minutes late will be assessed a late fee of $15 per 15 minutes.
I found kittens. What should I do?
Thank you for your care and concern for infant kittens. Learn what steps you should take to help them.
Is it dangerous to spay a cat who is in heat?
We routinely perform spays on female animals when they are in heat. It is not dangerous; however, there are added risks. Surgery times are generally longer, and the incision may be larger, but recovery tends to be routine. It is important that recently-spayed, in-heat animals be kept away from male animals for 30 days following surgery.
What is the recovery period following surgery like?
Generally, full recovery lasts about 10-14 days post-surgery. Community cats, however, can be returned to their outdoor colonies the day after surgery as long as there are no signs of surgical complication. View our TNVR post-operative instructions.
I recently adopted a pet that had surgery at Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic last week, and now the pet’s incision is open. What should I do?
Please contact us at or 804-368-6232 Monday through Thursday between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. If you believe the pet needs emergency care during hours when our clinic is not open, please seek care at a local emergency veterinary hospital. If the cat is bleeding, appears uncomfortable or unsettled, has an open incision exposing underlying tissue, or has other possible complications from surgery, please seek urgent evaluation at a local emergency facility. A list of emergency/urgent care facilities are listed on the right side of this page (or at the bottom on mobile). 
What happens if inclement weather prevents Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic from operating?
Our leadership team will determine if conditions are safe for our clinic to operate during inclement weather. If we are unable to open the clinic, we will reschedule all appointments. We will make every effort to alert clients of an unexpected closure prior to your appointment time. 
What are Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and do you test for these viruses? What are your recommendations for cats that test positive for either or both diseases? 
FeLV and FIV are both diseases caused by viruses that only infect cats. These viruses are found in both indoor and outdoor cats and are spread through saliva, blood and other body fluids. FIV spreads primarily through deep bite wounds, while FeLV can spread through close contact such as mutual grooming, bite wounds and from mothers to their kittens during pregnancy or nursing. 

Yes, testing is available for both FeLV and FIV. The optional blood test can be done on the day of sterilization for an additional fee.

If a cat tests positive for either FeLV or FIV and he/she is younger than 6 months old, we highly recommend that the cat/kitten be retested after reaching 6 months of age. False positives for FIV happen more commonly in kittens who are under 6 months of age due to transfer of maternal antibodies, usually during nursing. These maternal antibodies usually will wear off once they are over 6 months of age. False positive for FeLV are less common, but it is still encouraged to have the kitten retested.  

While FIV and FeLV can be a tough diagnosis to receive, we do not recommend, nor will we euthanize a cat based solely on a positive result for either virus. An otherwise healthy community cat should be returned to the colony where he or she was trapped as originally planned, as this cat has already exposed the other cats in the colony. A lot of cats with FIV and/or FeLV live relatively good quality lives (with FeLV positive cats typically prone to shorter lives).

If there are concerns about the health of a particular community cat, this should be discussed with the medical team at Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic or your primary care veterinarian.

We recommend the following sources for additional reading about these viruses.

American Association of Feline Practitioners Guidelines on FeLV/FIV
addresses community cat populations on page 19
Alley Cat Allies resources for FeLV community cats
Alley Cat Allies resources for FIV community cats
Veterinary Partner article on FeLV owned cats
Veterinary Partner article on FIV owned cats

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