Inside the centre

The centre is based on the Western coast of Portugal and works as part of a muncipal animal holding facility.

We work from premises in close collaboration with a local municipal vet and with local volunteers and staff. The centre is equipped to a high standard, with heavy emphasis on good equipment for both clinical and fieldwork aspects.

The course runs for 6-7 full days (not including your travelling days, so you'll need to be away from home for 9 days) and combines theory and classroom with practical and field content working as part of a real TNR project. Trainer – trainee ratios are around 1:2 (clinical) and 1:2 or 1:3 (field). Surgery is supervised at 1:1 until the second part of the week.

(1) On the way to a colony site with our quality handling and trapping equipment

(2) Notes from the induction workshop at the start of the week

(3) "Campfire" session outdoors in summer - as well as lectures we'll use brainstorming and problem solving

(4) Teaching use of drop and manual traps for high percentage neutering. These are essential tools proven to increase effectiveness in TNR and reduce cat stress - but many training courses don't do and teach this

(5) Direct 1:1 surgical training for rookies! Starts with demonstration and moves through direct supervision in the first few days to lower supervision. At the end of the week the delegates are asked to run the surgery themselves under arms length monitoring by the instructor team

(6) Learning early neutering from some of the UK's pioneers - some of our staff were the first to early-neuter in animal welfare organisations in the UK, as long ago as 1999.

(7) We have inhalation anaesthesia for those who are learning - but you will be encouraged to work with injectable-only by the end of the week.

(8) Every instrument set is sterilised with heat between patients, with sterile drapes and swabs and in-date materials always provided - so any post-op issues won't be from bad infrastructure

(9) Modular prep-room and theatre set-ups allow the theatre to be configured to suit group size

(10) Quality tables and good lighting

(11) Release! High percentage neutering with low morbidity and mortality.

(12) Hands-free throughout - we use squeeze cages or restraining forks, the latter avoids the need to transfer cats immediately before induction (stressful), and also reduces fomite transmission.