Community Cats

What is a Community Cat?

Community Cats are unowned, domestic cats that live outside often in groups called colonies. They are usually not well socialized to people and not comfortable living indoors. These cats can be found in all types of environments from farms and backyards to restaurant parking lots and prison grounds. To humans these places may not seem like the ideal places for cats, but to the cats these areas are their home. Tabby’s Place helps care for over 2 dozen community cat colonies in Hunterdon County through our TNR program.  To learn more about community cats, please visit: https://www.alleycat.org/resources/get-informed-discover-the-truth-about-feral-cats/.

What is TNR?

TNR stands for Trap-Neuter-Return. It is a method of humanely controlling and over time reducing community cat populations. Cats in TNR programs are carefully trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and then returned to their original outdoor home. Once the cats are returned, caretakers provide the cats with food and water on a daily basis, maintain proper shelter and monitor the colony for sick, injured and new cats.

Why is TNR the best solution for managing Community Cats?

Both cat lovers and cat foes want the same thing: fewer homeless cats. TNR provides a humane way of attaining this goal, while improving the quality of life of the cats and community members. TNR and proper colony management reduces many of the common nuisances that unmanaged colonies can cause.

How do I know if an outdoor cat is being cared for as part of a Community Cat Colony?

Once TNRed, community cats are eartipped for identification. While under anesthesia for their spay or neuter, the very tip of the cat’s left ear is surgically removed. This allows for easy identification at a distance and indicates that the cat has been sterilized and rabies vaccinated. Community Cats also generally shy away from people other than their caretakers, and usually appear healthy and well-groomed unless they are in need of medical attention.

What should I do if I see an outdoor cat in my community?

First, assess the cat and the area. Does the cat have an eartip? Are there shelters, feeding stations or signs around the area indicting there may be a caretaker? Does the cat appear healthy? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the cat is most likely part of a managed colony. If the cat does not have an ear tip or appears distressed, sick or injured,  contact your local animal welfare agency for assistance.

Why is it important not to feed Community Cats?

Our colony cats are fed and cared for daily by trained caretakers. Providing these cats with additional food or food scraps can make the cats sick, attract wildlife, attract more cats and create a nuisance to neighbors. If you would like to help Community Cats, please contact your local animal welfare organization to make a donation or sign up to volunteer.

If you have more questions about Community Cats, you can contact Tabby’s Place at dr@tabbysplace.org.