What is a Community Cat?
Any un-owned free-roaming cat that is sterilized, vaccinated against rabies, ear-tipped or ear-notched, implanted with a microchip and returned to their community. This cat may be cared for by one or more residents of the immediate area who are known or unknown. They may be friendly, or they may be unsocialized with people and prefer to keep their distance. These cats can live in backyards, parking lots, under sheds, in barns/warehouses, and lots of other places.
What is TNR (TNVR or SNR)?
Camden County Animal Control will begin a local TNVR Program in October 2023. More information coming soon!
TNR is a universal term that can mean Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) or Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR). TNR is the most effective, and humane, method of controlling feral cat population growth. TNR should not be used to create cat colonies but should instead be used as cat colony prevention, reducing overall numbers over time.
Why not trap and remove?
Trapping and removing cats creates a phenomenon known as the “vacuum effect”; this means that when cats are removed from an area, other cats are just going to move in to fill the void. The new cats continue to reproduce and call for additional trap and removal, continuing the cycle. Trap and remove, usually resulting in the cat’s euthanasia, has been the most common method to control feral cats for several decades; if it was going to be successful, it would have been by now.
What are the benefits of community cats?
- TNR immediately stabilizes the number of cats in an area, or colony, by eliminating new litters.
- The community can be more comfortable knowing that these cats are vaccinated and much less likely to spread any dangerous diseases.
- Nuisance behaviors typically associated with feral cats, such as yowling, fighting, and spraying or marking, are dramatically reduced once they are sterilized.
- Sterilized cats continue to hold their territory, preventing new and unsterilized cats from coming in to fill the void and creating new litters.
- Reduces euthanasia in local animal shelters, since we are also reducing the numbers of cats that are reproducing and those that need to come in to the shelters for care.
- Community cats provide an organic pest control service as well; even if they don’t actively hunt rodents, their presence is usually enough to keep them away.
- It costs Camden County tax payers much less to sterilize and return community cats, as opposed to keeping and caring for them in shelters.
What do I do if I find a community cat (already ear-tipped or ear-notched)?
Nothing, they’re already home!
Talk to your neighbors; hang large, bright, flyers in the area the cat was found and post on social media as well. Call Animal Control.
Does the cat look healthy? If so, leave him/her be. Statistics show that only 2-5% of cats that are brought to animal shelters are claimed by their owners; some studies even indicate that only 1 in 54 cats are reunited with their families after winding up at a shelter. However, similar studies prove that cats left outside are 13 times more likely to be reunited with their family – most of the time because they go home on their own or are found by their owner who is out searching for them.
I found really young kittens, what should I do?
- Mother knows best! Please don’t kit-nap! Keep Kittens with Mom.
- Keep an eye out for mom, she is most likely out hunting or looking for food.
- If mom returns, she’ll do what’s best for them. Kittens are extremely vulnerable at this stage and their best chance at survival is to stay with mom.
- If you are absolutely positive that mom hasn’t returned after several hours, or you found mom deceased, please contact your local shelter and inquire about how to care for the kittens until they are big enough to be sterilized (2lbs).
What if I found older kittens?
Healthy, friendly, kittens that are over 2lbs are big enough to be sterilized. You can call Animal Control to schedule an appointment to have them sterilized and vaccinated, and you can keep or rehome your new pet! You may also bring them to Animal Control as strays, and they will be evaluated for the adoption program.
Healthy, un-socialized, kittens that are old enough to receive a rabies vaccination (minimum 8 weeks) can be sterilized and returned through a TNR program, just like adult cats.
Camden County Community Cats
What is Camden County doing?
Any healthy, stray and/or outdoor, cat that comes to Animal Control may be a Community Cat candidate.
- These cats will be sterilized, vaccinated, ear-tipped, tested for Feline Leukemia, and returned to the area that they originated.
- Healthy outdoors cats are home, and they are doing well in their environment. Even though you may not think so, several of your neighbors are most likely feeding and/or caring for them.
- Trap and remove is a program that has been used for several decades, and it hasn’t worked. TNR programs have been statistically proven to reduce the number of feral cats, the complaints related to outdoor cats, and the number of animals euthanized in local shelters.
What if I don’t want cats on my property?
We understand that not everyone wants cats hanging around. There are several ways that you can keep cats, and other wildlife, from frequenting your property. The easiest and most effective method is to ensure that trash is secured and pet food isn’t left out.
More information about Camden County Community Cats (PDF).