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Community Cats

Animal Humane Society’s Community Cats program works to improve the lives of free-roaming and feral cats in our community and reduce the unnecessary euthanasia of healthy cats that are not suitable for adoption.

What is a community cat?

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

What happens to community cats at AHS?

Stray or free-roaming cats that are friendly and would do well in a home are made available for adoption or placed in our adoption preparation programs. Feral cats that would not be appropriate or happy as pets are sterilized, ear-tipped, vaccinated, and released in the same outdoor location where they were found.

Why return feral cats to the community?

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 sterilized, 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. Euthanizing healthy, feral cats is not an option at AHS.

Will community cats suffer if we return them?

Under this program, only feral cats that are 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. 

What about our cold winters?

While it’s hard to imagine living outdoors during our winters, 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.

Don’t outdoor cats kill birds and wildlife?

Although community cats often hunt to survive, this program will reduce the impact on birds and wildlife by gradually decreasing the cat population over time.

What should I do if I find a cat with a tipped ear?

A tipped ear indicates that the cat has already been sterilized and vaccinated, so you can simply leave that cat alone. Ear-tipped cats that are surrendered will be returned to the community.

Does AHS actively trap, neuter, and return community cats?

We have a targeted trap-neuter-return program in five zip codes: 55358, 55363, 55390, 55313, and 55376. Our staff and volunteers work with community members and feral cat colony caretakers to humanely trap cats, transport them for surgery, ear-tipping, and vaccination, and return them to the colony following treatment.

To help with this effort or identify stray or feral cats for sterilization, please call 763-432-4848 or email

What if I have more questions?

Contact our community cats coordinator at 763-432-4892 or

Animal Humane Society's Community Cats program is supported in part by a grant from PetSmart Charities.