Case Study: Miami Beach Community Cat Program

As a barrier island city, you might think that Miami Beach would have fewer community cats than other places. But in 1912, the city’s first mayor, John Newton Lummus, advertised for cats to help deal with the island’s rat population. After receiving “bags full of cats,” the mayor released them on the beach. Soon the rats were gone, but the cats remained — and multiplied.

Today, the community has more than 30,000 community cats and the city created its first Cat Program Coordinator role to further support the city’s community cat program. During the pandemic, with many spay/neuter services paused and then reopening with limited capacity, the city’s community cat population grew tremendously.

Miami Beach has been a BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certified city since 2021. Here’s what they shared about their program:

Partners Drive Progress

Miami Beach’s community cat program is housed at The Kitty Campus, which grew from the city allowing a nonprofit team to lease the building with a subsidy from the city in September 2020 to support Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) efforts. One of the rooms within the building provided a secure place to temporarily house cats that are awaiting or recovering from TNVR services before being returned to their home colonies. The Kitty Campus is located at 8128 Collins Ave in Miami Beach.

By the end of September,  through partnerships with volunteer-run nonprofits SoBe Cats Spay & Neuter, Inc.Saving Save Animal Rescue and Operation Paw, the program expanded into adoption services, augmenting the management of the community cat feeding and trapping programs.

Now the community’s first-ever cat rescue has already helped over 700 adoptable cats find homes while facilitating spay/neuter for thousands of others.

The Miami Beach Cat Program consists of three components:

  • Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR): The city helps facilitate TNVR events with area volunteer trappers for community cats. Kittens and adoptable friendly cats are pulled out of the event and entered into the adoption program. The Kitty Campus, Saving Sage Animal Rescue, SoBe Cats Spay & Neuter and Miami-Dade Animal Services work together in these efforts. During two-day events several times a year, Miami-Dade Animal Services brings its mobile animal clinic (MAC) surgery truck to The Kitty Campus and completes 35 to 40 surgeries per day, with additional services provided at the organization’s main facility.

  • Registered Feeder Program: Community cats are able to “Live Outside with Love” through the city’s Registered Feeder Program. Feeders are an integral part of the TNVR program since they not only feed and provide fresh water to the cats, but also monitor cat colonies for issues. In addition, they identify cats that have not yet been through the TVNR process to ensure that a maximum number of community cats are spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Those interested in becoming a City of Miami Beach Registered feeder can apply through the feeder application.

  • Adoption: Miami Beach wants kitties to be placed into a loving home when possible!  They spay/neuter and place friendly, adoptable community cats and kittens into the “pawsome” adoption program at The Kitty Campus so that they can find them a safe and loving home off the streets.  To put the kitties up for adoption they go through a brief quarantine process where they are dewormed, vaccinated, given flea medication, tested, fixed and microchipped. Those who would like to volunteer at The Kitty Campus Adoption Center can apply through the volunteer application.

City Support Gives Credibility

To help manage community sentiment about the city’s cat colonies, the city takes steps to educate the public about the program and its benefits. Volunteer feeders receive identification badges to signal to community members that their work is approved by the city.

Signage within the city also indicates that the community cat colonies are monitored and fed by registered feeders, as well as provided with TNVR services.

Plus, the city shares tips on its website to encourage the program’s success:

Help us control the cat population in your neighborhood by following these rules:

  • Register to become a feeder or trapper. We help train and educate volunteers on best practices for working with community cats.
  • No trespassing onto private property when feeding cats.
  • Keep feeding areas clean and out of sight by leaving food for no more than one hour.
  • Report new cats for the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) program. Cats that have been spayed/neutered can be identified by a “snip” in the cat’s left ear.
  • To deter cats from coming onto your property, natural deterrents include fresh orange and lemon peels, citrus-scented fragrances, coffee grounds, vinegar, pipe tobacco as well as lavender, lemon grass, citronella or eucalyptus oils.

Learn more about the Miami Beach program by visiting or

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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