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. If you have knowledge of a homeless cat community or a homeless mother cat and/or kittens, please call us at 702.907.1867. We can provide you with traps or send someone out to set traps to safely capture, treat and release the cats. Kittens are typically young enough to adjust to domesticated life and be adopted.
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?
Since the launch of our 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.
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 I do to get community cats off my property?
For more information on trapping and our FREE spay/neuter services for community cats, call our staff at 702-384-3333 x905.