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The community cat

The community cat

Posted by Patricia on 9th Jun 2023

There are currently about 70 million cats throughout our country without homes. According to The Humane Society of the United States, cited below, only 25% of felines born outdoors live past the age of six months. Frequently misunderstood and dismissed as nuisances, alley cats, strays, or ferals, they are often harassed or harmed by humans or other predators.

Community cats are a more common umbrella name for those without homes that are free roaming. Statistics from The Humane Society of the United States reveal that "10-12% of the U.S. population feed community cats." Some also provide water and shelter. People who care for these homeless cats often work with Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) groups who trap the cats, transport them to a veterinarian for vaccinations and spay/neuter services, and return them to where they were found. The cats can become part of a colony where they can live out their lives.

Alley Cat Allies, cited below, said, "People don't want cats rounded up and killed. They want to see cat populations stabilized and appreciate when the mating behaviors of cats are brought into check through spaying and neutering. With TNR, adult cats spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped are returned to the colony to live out their lives in their outdoor home."

Spaying and neutering are vital to a TNR program. Female community cats can become pregnant as early as five months of age and have multiple litters yearly. Those litters will reproduce, continuing the cycle. Community cats produce around 80% of the kittens born in the U.S. Without help, most will eventually die or end up in animal shelters where they will be at risk of euthanasia.

Studies reported by National Feline Research, cited below, reveal that "no more than seven of every 100 cats entering local animal shelters are reclaimed by their owners, compared to 15-50% for impounded dogs."

The number is lower for cats in shelters because most are independent and have no owner to claim them. Some had daily human contact but either sustained themselves outdoors or were abandoned. If you want to help a community cat enjoy the good life as a beloved indoor companion, consider this: June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and would be a great time to give a forever home to a former community cat in need.

Quote to remember: "He who feeds a hungry animal feeds his own soul." - Charles Chaplin


Humane Society of the United States,past%206%20months%20of%20age.

"Outdoor cats FAQ"

National Feline Research

"Fast facts about the 'feral cat problem'"

Alley Cat Allies

"Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) saves lives"