Community Cats (Feral Cats)

Assistance with Community Cats (Feral Cats)

What are community cats?

Community cats are different from social, pet cats. They’re feral (wild) and have had little to no contact with humans during their lifetime. They can’t be adopted into homes as family pets; instead, they happily live outdoors, freely and independently.

The most humane way to improve the quality of life for feral cats, while reducing their numbers within the community where they live, is to limit their ability to reproduce, which also helps them to live healthy lives. This method is often referred to as Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR).

How does SNR work?

  • Community members trap community cats and bring them to Riverdale Animal Shelter.
  • We spay or neuter these community cats and vaccinate them against rabies.
  • We tip one ear to show that they’ve been spayed/neutered.
  • We return the cats to the very same colony/neighborhood where they live independently.

How does SNR solve common complaints about community cats?

  • When community cats are spayed/neutered and returned to where they live, they no longer reproduce.
  • Behaviors associated with mating – pregnancy, yowling, spraying and fighting – stop.
  • Neutered community cats roam less and become less visible and prone to injury from cars.
  • Foul odor from these cats is reduced because neutered cats no longer produce testosterone, which otherwise mixes with their urine and causes a strong, pungent smell.
  • When the colony is monitored by someone in the neighborhood who removes and/or SNRs any newly arrived cats, the population stabilizes and gradually declines over time.
  • Colony sizes decrease over time by an average of 66%.

Quick Facts about Community Cats

  • Young kittens who can still be socialized, as well as friendly adults, can be placed in our shelter’s foster care program and can eventually be adopted to good homes.
  • Community cats can help control rodent populations.
  • Removing community cats won’t eliminate the problem. New cats move in or survivors will breed to capacity.
  • Community cats are extremely resourceful animals. When they are no longer being fed in the community where they live, they will simply look for another food source.

Tips to Keep Community Cats Off Your Property

  • Keep tight lids on your trash cans.
  • Block gaps in the foundation of sheds and porches where cats may seek shelter. Chicken wire or lattice are effective materials.
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging.
  • Scatter fragrances that deter cats: fresh orange and lemon peels, coffee grounds, vinegar, and scented oil (lavender, lemongrass, citronella or eucalyptus).
  • Use motion-sensing sprinklers to keep them out of the yard.