Feral and Community Cats

The ASPCA uses the term "community cats" to encompass any unowned cat. Included under this umbrella are feral cats, those who have been lost or abandoned, and cats who might receive food and intermittent care from one or more residents in a community. Feral cats are cats who are too poorly socialized to be placed as a typical pet.

The ASPCA supports the management of community cat colonies primarily through TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) and scanning for the presence of a microchip, vaccination, sterilization, ear tipping and, when feasible, microchipping.

Shelter & Rescue Group Resources

Download: The Special S/N Needs of Community Cats
This beautifully illustrated, full-color guide covers everything you need to know about spaying and neutering community cats – from trap handling through exams, ear tipping, surgery, tattooing, recovery and release.

Blog: The Quest to Save All Cats
A field-wide plan to save more cats should take into account differences in climate, geography, community attitudes and many other issues.

Blog: Messaging Community Cats
Here are six creative approaches to help address concerns that people in the neighborhood may have about community cat colonies.

Webinar: Infection Control in Home-Based Programs
Discover a systematic approach to infection control that focuses on keeping animals healthy, especially in home-based operations and foster care.

Webinar: Is That Cat Feral?
How and when do you decide to consider stray cats for your adoption floor or determine if they are candidates for TNR?

Webinar: Feral vs. Frightened Pet
Some cats arrive at shelters displaying all the signs of being feral, but how can you be certain? You may have a cat who's simply scared out of his wits.

Forms & Samples: Feral Cat Room Sign
A sample sign you can use to label your feral cat room and explain it to visitors.

How-to: Creating Healthy Spaces for Animals
Making better use of the limited space you have available will help improve animal (and employee) morale and health. Here's a how-to on a shelter "flip".

Tips: Housing Feral Cats Separately
A separate housing area in your shelter will benefit both the ferals and other cats in your care.

Blog: 16 Tips for Rocking a Kitten Shower
The influx of cats and kittens may feel overwhelming, but kitten showers can provide fun and effective way to get community help when resources are stretched to the limit.

TNR Resources

How To: How to Teach Community TNR Workshops
These training materials include a workbook, workshop script, slideshow and videos to give you the tools you need to implement – or improve – this humane and effective practice.

Tips: How to Talk TNR
These four tips can help you win over TNR resisters, whether they are pet lovers or not.

Webinar: High Quality, High Volume Spay/Neuter 
This webinar recording provides recommendations and implementation tips related to preoperative care, anesthesia, surgery and postoperative care.

Webinar: Starting a TNR Program in Your Community
This provides a basic overview of trap-neuter-return, along with examples of different program models.

How-to: Cat Trapping Basics
What you'll need and how you can prepare for humane cat trapping.

How-to: Mass Trapping for Feral Cats
New York City caregivers trap and alter an entire colony at one time to achieve the highest impact on the population.

How-to: A Mobile Clinic for Feral Cats
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon's mobile hospital provides s/n and veterinary care in seven counties.

How-to: Voucher Program for Feral Cat Sterilizations
Operation Catnip has local vets perform feral cat sterilizations in their clinics for a greatly reduced fee.

How-to: Creating a Community Program to Manage Feral and Free-Roaming Cats
Read how a volunteer networks provides the tools individual caregivers need to help their colonies.

Forms & Samples: ASPCA TNR Postcard
A sample postcard you can customize to help educate your community about TNR.

Forms & Samples: Criteria for Hosting a Spay/Neuter Event
A sample sheet you can use to document criteria and requirements for a community hosting a spay/neuter clinic.

Forms & Samples: Spay/Neuter Surgical Protocols
This sample sheet contains requirements and protocols for spay/neuter procedures.

Blog: What to Say About Community Cats and Health Risks
These resources and information can to help you provide accurate information about public health issues and free-roaming cats.

Blog: Who Benefits From TNR?
What to say when talking about TNR from a public health perspective.

Caretaker Resources

Tips: Caring for Ferals in Winter
Top 10 tips to help get your colonies through the cold months.

Blog: Colony Management 101 – Tootsie Roll Gardens
Here's great advice for keeping free-roaming felines out of neighboring gardens.

Blog: Baby, it's Cold Outside!
Ways to make winter more manageable for your outside eartipped friends.

How-to: Urban Kitty Housing
Volunteers construct housing for various cat colonies coping with a harsh winter.

Latest Research & Other Resources

Blog: How Many Cats Do We Need to Sterilize to Reach Zero Population Growth?
Read about the latest research in curbing population growth among free-roaming cats – the findings may surprise you!

Blog: Is This Cat Feral Latest Research
Dr. Margaret Slater is back with an update on an ASPCA project that aims to determine how to separate cats who are frightened but socialized from cats who are unsocialized to humans.

Webinar: Feral vs. Frightened Pet
Some cats arrive at shelters displaying all the signs of being feral, but how can you be certain? You may have a cat who's simply scared out of his wits.

Research: Is This Cat Feral?
The latest ASPCA research can help you answer that question.

Tools: Unsocialized Cat or Socialized Pet?
Have your staff take this quiz and see if you can tell the difference!

Alley Cat Allies
This group provides a wide range of information, including sections on feral cat health and feral veterinary protocol.

Safe Relocation
Alley Cat Allies provides information on the appropriate times and situations to consider colony relocation. This information is also relevant to barn cat and feral placement programs.

AVMA Collections
Articles are available on feral populations, disease, clinical considerations, guidelines and many other topics.

Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals Love Cats/Hate Cats TNR Poster
These printable comics send a message to cat lovers (and non-cat lovers) that TNR works. Also in Spanish.

More Community Cat & Feral Resources on Pro

Looking for forms & samples that you can download and customize? Click here
Looking for how-to guides on a variety of topics? Click here
Looking for easy-to-implement tips? Click here
Looking for recorded webinars on spay/neuter? Click here