Teaming Up For an Alternative to Catch and Kill for Feral Cats

Ending its policy of euthanizing all healthy feral cats, the SPCA Serving Erie County, NY, joined with the feral cat advocacy group Feral Cat FOCUS to keep these cats out of the shelter by providing resources for people willing to care for them.

"If animal shelters don't kill, or condone the killing of, apparently healthy wildlife - even if people find some wildlife behavior upsetting - why should shelters take on the role of euthanizing apparently healthy feral cats?"—Feral Cat FOCUS

What It Takes

  • Good data about the health and origin of cats euthanized in your shelter.
  • Knowledge of local ordinances regarding free-roaming cats and willingness to work to get them changed if necessary.
  • A support group to educate and provide resources to people dealing with feral cats.
  • A clinic able to handle large number of feral cat surgeries.

What We Like

  • Busting the myth that free-roaming cats are sick and "better off dead," the SPCA Serving Erie County collected data showing that most of the feral cats brought to the shelter were healthy.
  • Taking the time to collaborate with Feral Cat FOCUS allowed agency leaders to provide the public with essential resources before refusing to accept healthy feral cats for euthanasia.

Step by Step

  1. Download the complete profile (.pdf).
  2. Assess for yourself whether this program is right for your agency.
  3. Create and implement a plan for your agency.
  4. Tell us how it goes.