Community Cats

woman standing in front of community cats van

The Animal Foundation’s Community Cats program can help you with unowned, free-roaming, and feral cat rescues.    

Outdoor cats that are free-roaming or feral are considered “Community Cats.” These cats sometimes live in groups called colonies and choose their territories because they have a food source and shelter there. They repay the favor of this beneficial set-up by keeping additional cats from moving into the neighborhood as well as controlling rodent populations for their human neighbors.

These cats do not have to be brought into the shelter to be rehomed, they already have a home! They are perfectly happy living in their colonies and neighborhoods. If a cat is healthy, it has found food and shelter and will be able to continue to thrive on its own. Plus, although some Community Cats may tolerate human contact, most would not be happy in a traditional home setting.

Instead, free-roaming cats and the neighborhoods they live in can benefit from Trap Neuter Return (TNR), where cats can be humanely trapped, brought in to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated, receive an ear-tip so we know they have already been sterilized, and be returned to the community from which they came.

Whether you love or hate the cats in your neighborhood, the Community Cats Program is the answer!

FAQs About Free-Roaming and Feral Cat Rescue 

Love the cats in your neighborhood?

  • TNR helps stabilize the population: Once TNR is in place, cats will no longer reproduce. As long as the colony continues to be managed appropriately, the population will decline naturally.
  • TNR improves the lives of cats: TNR relieves cats of the physical and mental demands and consequences of mating, pregnancy, and fending for their young.
  • TNR improves cats’ health: All cats served through this program are vaccinated, preventing the spread of disease. Plus, spaying and neutering reduce the chance of cats developing mammary or testicular tumors and other health concerns.
  • TNR increases cat safety: With a decreased drive to mate, cats are less likely to suffer injuries from fights, roadways, etc.
  • TNR helps save lives: feral cats brought to the shelter are usually not suitable indoor pets, so are not candidates for placement by adoption. TNR allows another option to live out their lives in their preferred outdoor homes.
  • TNR reduces shelter admissions: This reduces shelter operating costs and increases shelter adoption rates, thereby allowing the shelter to save the lives of even more shelter animals!

Hate the cats in your neighborhood?

  • TNR reduces or eliminates undesired behaviors: These include roaming, yowling, spraying, and/or fighting, which all generally cease after sterilization.
  • TNR decreases the size of colonies: Once sterilized, cats no longer have new litters of kittens and their numbers decrease naturally and stably over time.
  • TNR keeps new cats from moving in: When a cat or cats are removed from an area where there is a food source, new cats move in and/or the remaining cats continue to breed to capacity, doing nothing to diminish the cat population.
  • TNR supports public health: Cats served through the Community Cats Program are vaccinated against rabies. These vaccinations not only protect the cat, but also community members and other animals that may come into contact with them, creating safer and healthier communities.
  • TNR improves relationships: Not only does TNR make cats better neighbors, it helps create harmony between neighbors of the human variety when colonies are managed appropriately and responsibly.
  • TNR is fiscally and socially responsible: Community Cats Programs help shelters operate efficiently and maximize lifesaving.

What is the impact of the Community Cats program?

Since the launch of our Community Cats program in June of 2015, The Animal Foundation has successfully spayed and neutered over 7,000 cats. To illustrate the impact of this, a conservative calculation estimates that an average female cat can have three litters with a total of 12 kittens per year (this number factors in survival/mortality rates) or 60 kittens in just five years! Kittens usually go into heat for the first time when they are four to six months old and, unlike humans, cats do not go through menopause and can give birth throughout their lifespan.

Get Involved

We rent out humane traps to use for TNR. We offer FREE spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, and ear-tips to all community cats. For more information about these public services, please visit our Low-Cost Veterinary Services page. We provide guidance, support, and assistance for you and your community cats.

For more information about the Community Cats Program and how we can help, please e-mail us at CCP@animalfoundation.com, or call us at 702-384-3333 x964.

Clinic Services

Hours and Location 

Trapped community cats can be brought to the Low-Cost Veterinary Services Lobby from 9-10am daily (holidays and some exceptions may apply). A staff member or volunteer will greet you and escort you through the process and forms and provide you with a confirmation sheet. TNR surgeries are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis due to the limited number of surgeries that can be performed each day. Feral cats in traps will be prioritized over-friendly, free-roaming cats, due to the difficulties associated with trapping them. Please be prepared for a brief wait for processing. When picking up your community cats after surgery, please go to the main Veterinary Services Lobby from 8-9 am daily (holidays and some exceptions may apply) with the confirmation sheet you were provided the day before. The receptionists will provide the discharge paperwork and guide you to where the cat will be picked up. Please be prepared for a brief wait for processing.

Surgery Requirements

  • All cats must be at least 2 months of age or weigh at least 2 pounds. 
  • All cats must be in a secure trap already when they arrive. 
  • All cats must be returned to the original outdoor home where they were trapped and must not be rehomed. 
    • We are unable to provide “free” spay/neuter services for kittens being removed from the outdoors or owned cats. 
  • If possible, remove all food and water after midnight and prior to drop-off to avoid surgical complications.

What to Expect

Whenever possible, all cats dropped off by 10 am will have surgery the same day and be ready to be picked up between 8-9 am the next day, as described above. Occasionally, surgery discharges may need to be delayed by one day. In this case, you would be notified by phone.

Cats will receive a Rabies and FRCPC vaccine, be ear-tipped, and spayed/neutered. Additional preventative care services are not provided.

Trap Rental FAQs

  • Traps are available to rent (up to 3 traps per person per rental) between 8-10 am daily at the Veterinary Services Reception Lobby
  • Traps can be rented for up to 3 weeks at a time (no renewals available)
  • Trap rental requires a $50 refundable credit card deposit at the time of rental
    • Deposits must be refunded to the same credit card used at the time of rental
    • Deposit will be forfeited if trap is not returned within 3 weeks
    • A Trap Loan Agreement Form must be completed

For more information about the Community Cats Program and how we can help, please e-mail us at CCP@animalfoundation.com or call us at 702-384-3333 x964. Calls are generally returned within 24 - 48 hours.

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