Animal Humane Society position on community cats

A community cat is defined as an unowned, free-roaming cat that lives outdoors. To effectively manage the nuisance behaviors of free-roaming cats in our community, such as breeding, spraying and fighting, Animal Humane Society takes a two-pronged approach:

  1. Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) is a comprehensive effort within specific communities to humanely trap, sterilize and return these free-roaming cats to the community, which significantly reduces the number of kittens born in these areas.
  2. Return to Field (RTF) program is for free-roaming cats that have been surrendered to the Animal Humane Society. If they are determined to have behavioral issues that preclude adoption, the cats are then sterilized and returned to the neighborhood in which they were found.

To identify community cats that have been part of these processes so that they are not readmitted, the Animal Humane Society uses the industry-standard practice of ear-tipping.    

While we acknowledge that free-roaming cats can have a negative impact on native wildlife species, we believe that the complete elimination of outdoor cats is not possible. These two programs will ultimately curtail outdoor cat populations, thereby reducing their impact on wildlife over time.

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