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Community Cats

Community Cats – What are they?

A community cat is a cat that lives outdoors. They may be friendly, or not socialized with people.

Community cats typically have one or more people providing them with a food source and some type of shelter (under a porch or shed, for example). While yes, there are certainly dangers in the community which can affect the quality and length of their life (no routine veterinary care, potential for food sources to end and/or shelter to cease), the cats are used to this way of life and in most cases, prefer it. These cats do not adjust well to life in an animal shelter. They prefer to roam freely and explore their territory outside, and when confined to a small cage they become depressed, irritated and frustrated, and their quality of life diminishes greatly. Even in a new home, many of these cats still don’t acclimate completely and can have destructive or unhealthy behaviors.

Survival rates for Community Cats greatly exceeds the odds of survival in a shelter. Therefore, AFHS has implemented a Community Cat Program where we SNR (Shelter, Neuter, Return) community cats. Information is gathered during intake and the cats are evaluated to ensure they are healthy enough to live a free-roaming lifestyle. They are spayed/neutered, ear tipped to identify them as being altered, and released back to their familiar environment.

UCAN website

What should I do if I find a Community Cat?

  • First, check to see if the cat’s ear is tipped. If so, it has already been spayed/neutered and is being fed by someone in your area.
  • If the cat’s ear is not already tipped, the best option is to have the cat spayed/neutered through a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) program, then returned to the location where it was found. Friendly cats found outside likely have more than one caregiver, so they should be sterilized and returned to their outside home.

What should I do if I find kittens?

  • The best place for kittens younger than 8 weeks of age is with their mother, if at all possible.
  • If you find kittens outdoors without their mother, do not assume they don’t have one. Watch for a few hours from a hidden spot to see if mom returns. She is likely out looking for food, is in the process of moving her kittens, or is just taking a little break. Find more great resources from Alley Cat Allies.

Please reach out to OAR or UCAN for information on their TNR services.***

Living with Community Cats

Not everyone enjoys living with cats in their yards. However, these simple tips will help you co-exist with your neighborhood cats. There are simple solutions to any problems feral cats may be causing you or your property.

PROBLEM– Cats are digging in my garden.

Reason: It is a cats natural instinct to dig and deposit in soft or loose soil, mulch or sand.

Easy Solutions:

  • Scatter fresh orange or lemon peels, spray with citrus fragrance, or add coffee grounds or pipe tobacco as natural deterrents that will not harm your garden.
  • Plastic carpet runners, chicken wire, or lattice type patterns are also deterrents.
  • Add rocks to your garden bed.
  • Pet stores have mats or sprays that are safe for cats and gardens

PROBLEM– Cats are sleeping under my porch, shed, etc.

Reason: They are looking for dry, warm shelter.

Easy Solutions:

  • Block open areas with lattice or chicken wire, be sure to search for anyone hiding first!
  • Provide a shelter- like a small doghouse hidden away.

PROBLEM– Cats are getting into my trash.

Reason: Cats are scavengers and are looking for food.

Easy Solutions:

  • Place a tight lid on your trash can.

You or your neighbors can feed the cats. Cats that are not hungry will not scavenge. Feed during daylight hours at a consistent time in an ‘out of the way’ place.

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