The Humane Animal Rescue’s Community Cat program works to improve the lives
of cats in our community and reduce the unnecessary euthanasia of healthy, happy cats.

Community cats are un-owned cats that live outdoors in the community. These cats may be feral or friendly, may have been born into the wild, or may be lost or abandoned pets.

All free-roaming cats found outside are spayed/neutered, ear-tipped, vaccinated, and released in the same outdoor location where they were found.

If there are stray or feral cats in your community that need spayed/neutered, you can participate in our Community Cats program by trapping and transporting these cats to receive their surgery!

Call us at 412-345-0348 for more information on how to get involved.

What is a Community Cat?

A Community Cat can be:

  • Un-owned
  • Feral or Un-socialized
  • Indoor-Outdoor
  • Friendly
  • Lost or Abandoned
  • Born in the Wild
  • Stray

Community cats are all over the worlds and have been around for thousands of years. Most community cats live with other cats in colonies and are very close with each other. It is estimated that of the 30-80 million community cats living in the U.S., less than 2% are spayed or neutered. Without being TNR’d, one cat has the ability to produce 30+ cats in just a one-year period!

Simply removing cats from an area will not solve the problem! When you remove cats from one area, more will come from another. The safest and most efficient way to decrease this population is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). This is when cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to live out the rest of their life. Community cats are very resilient and smart⁠— they will find food, water and shelter on their own.

 

 

Removing these cats from the community doesn’t eliminate the nuisances they create and actually encourages cat populations to steadily grow. When you return cats that have been spayed/neutered, they continue to use resources but are unable to reproduce, decreasing the free-roaming cat population over time.

Sterilization also reduces problematic behaviors like fighting and spraying. Usually within a month, the sexual hormones are completely gone and the desire to mate is no longer there. You can also try using vinegar or citrus peels to deter cats, while also masking the smell of cat urine. Euthanizing healthy, feral cats is not an option at the Humane Animal Rescue.

Under this program, only community cats that are over 6 months of age and thriving are returned to their environment. If the cat is healthy, we know it has found a food source and shelter, just as other wild animals have.

This is more likely to occur when food is left outside for too long and/or after dark. You can prevent this by creating a raised feeding station to keep insects away from the food. Additionally, set a feeding time for cats and only leave food out for 30 minutes at a time, or until they have finished eating. Community cats will learn to adjust to the schedule that you set.

The cats are likely just trying to find a safe, warm area to sleep. You can install lattice fencing or chicken wire to prevent cats from entering, but be sure to check for sleeping cats before completing the job. You can also create a cat shelter in your backyard.

It’s in their nature to hunt and forage for food. Use a locking lid on your trashcan, or use a bungee cord to secure it so they cannot knock it open. If you provide readily accessible food, they will have no reason to get into your trash. Just be sure to follow the guidelines about to avoid attracting other animals!

Most cats have an instinct to cover their feces in sand or dirt. You can try covering the area with citrus smells or coffee grounds to deter the cats. Vinegar is also a smell that many cats dislike and try to avoid.

Cats tend to stay where they are being fed and taken care of. You can keep them away by using any of the above deterrents, as well as high-pitched noised motion sensors and motion activated water sprinklers.

It may be hard to imagine living outdoors during winters, however, we know cats have adapted and manage to survive year round. Similar programs have been successfully implemented in all types of climates across the U.S. and Canada. If you’d like to provide a warm spot this winter, you can learn how to build an inexpensive community cat shelter here!

Although community cats do often hunt to survive, this program will reduce the impact on birds and wildlife. By reducing the number of cats living outside by spay/neuter, we are doing the best thing for all involved. This does however take time, determination, patience and collaboration. Simple removing cats from an environment is not effective or humane.

Humane and Wildlife Education

We’re committed to educating the public about the interesting and unknown behaviors of animals.

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Behavior and Training Classes

To love your dog is to learn with your dog! Our team is comprised of some of the city’s most knowledgeable canine trainers.

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Lost and Found Pets

Found a lost pet and unsure of what to do next? Let us help you figure it out!

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Humane and Wildlife Education

We’re committed to educating the public about the interesting and unknown behaviors of animals.

Read More

Behavior and Training Classes

To love your dog is to learn with your dog! Our team is comprised of some of the city’s most knowledgeable canine trainers.

Read More

Lost and Found Pets

Found a lost pet and unsure of what to do next? Let us help you figure it out!

Read More