Benefits of Community Cat Programs

Here are eight key benefits of community cat programs for cities with outdoor cat populations.

  • They limit cat overpopulation. TNR (trap-neuter-return) is a fundamental component of community cat programs and has been shown to be an effective way to reduce community cat populations over time.

  • They’re humane. Community cat programs typically include cat caregivers providing food and water, as well as TNR, vaccination and other support from the animal welfare community. This allows cats to live out their lives in their colony, while the colony size is humanely reduced over time.

  • They reduce fighting and other mating-related behaviors. When male cats are neutered, they typically become less territorial and less likely to fight with other males. This helps make them less of a nuisance in their neighborhoods.

  • They improve cat health. Because community cat programs usually include vaccinations as part of the TNR process, they reduce the number of cats at risk for disease. In addition, repeated pregnancy in cats has been linked to cancer and other diseases. Spaying female cats helps keep them healthier.

  • They bring communities together. Having a formal community cat program engages the animal welfare community and citizens in cat care. It provides public education about the benefits of TNR and an opportunity to discuss and resolve concerns before they escalate in the community.

  • They have public support. Research by Alley Cat Allies on the humane treatment of community cats found that 80% of Americans support allowing community cats to live out their lives rather than being trapped and killed.

  • They reduce the burden on shelters. Since community cats may be unsocialized or prefer their outdoor life, it’s better to keep them out of shelters. They will be happier and shelter resources will not be taken up with their care. This means shelters can focus instead on getting adoptable pets into homes, supporting pet owners in need, and addressing public safety and health needs related to pets.

  • They save money. Numerous studies have shown that community cat programs with TNR are more effective than trap-and-kill programs that provide only a temporary reduction in cat populations and are generally labor- and cost-intensive for local animal control teams.

Want to know more? Check out our Community Cat Toolkit for an overview of community cat care, case studies, tools for citizens and more.

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