In an effort to manage the overwhelming number of free-roaming or feral cats in our community, The Animal Foundation, in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, has launched a pilot program called Community Cats.
As part of the program, community cats are trapped, brought to the shelter, spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped for identification, then returned to the community from which they came. Negative behaviors like howling, fighting and marking territory will likely stop or decrease after sterilization. The cats are also vaccinated against rabies to prevent the spread of disease.
The mission of the Community Cats Program is to control the local cat population with no new litters or kittens. As a result, the homeless cat population will decrease, fewer feral cats will come to the shelter, and more lives will be saved.
A community cat is one that is un-owned, lives outdoors and is either free roaming or feral. Although some community cats may tolerate some human contact, most are very fearful and cannot be adopted. Community cats often live in groups, and these groups are called a cat colony. Community cats and cat colonies take refuge wherever there is a food source.
What is the difference between a stray cat and a community cat?
Stray cats have owners, but are lost or abandoned, whereas community cats are primarily wild-raised or have adapted to community life.
How does the Community Cats Program work?
A trapper from The Animal Foundation or from the local animal control agency traps a community cat and brings it to our campus to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped for identification. The cat is then returned to where it was found.
Why return feral cats to the community?
Feral cats do not make happy or suitable pets and generally cannot be put up for adoption. Humanely euthanizing feral cats does not solve the cat overpopulation problem. Instead, it encourages cat populations to grow by opening up a food source. The cats treated as part of the Community Cats Program will be returned to their food source without the ability to reproduce. This maintains a balance within the cat community and will lead to a decrease in the cat population over time. It will significantly cut down on the number of cat euthanizations and help us get closer to our mission of saving all healthy and treatable animals in the Las Vegas valley.
How will the cat survive once it’s released back into the community?
The Community Cats Program returns healthy cats back into the community. If a cat is healthy, it has found food and shelter and will be able to survive on its own.
What is the impact of the community cat program?
As part of the pilot program launched in June 2015, The Animal Foundation has successfully returned almost 500 cats to their community. That’s almost 500 lives saved. If you consider that a single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years, that’s a huge impact. When the program is fully implemented, we expect this program will help us save about 4,000 cats a year.
Has this program been proven to be effective?
The Community Cats Program has seen much success in other cities, including Albuquerque, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and others.
What should you do to get community cats off your property?