According to the ASPCA, the number of community cats in the United States is estimated to be in the tens of millions. A community cat is a cat that is born and raised in the wild, or a cat who has been abandoned and who has turned to wild ways in order to survive. A community cat is primarily raised in the wild or it has adopted community life.
A stray cat, on the other hand, is usually someone’s pet that has become lost or who has been abandoned. Unlike community cats, a stray cat is usually tame and comfortable around humans. These cats will try to make a home near humans. They are not able to cope with life in the wild and are completely reliant on humans for food.
When it comes to stray cat rescue, you may want to feed a stray cat, but you may not want to capture it. These stray cats have a much better chance of reuniting with their owner when they’re left in the area where they are found, so stray cat rescue is not always the best option. According to the Animal Humane Society, less than five percent of stray cats that are brought to shelters are ever reclaimed by their owners. That’s why stray cat rescue is not a good idea. It is best to leave healthy, friendly cats where you discovered them.
A stray cat may be friendly and approach you, or it may be too scared to let you get close, however it will usually eat as soon as you put food down. If you want to try to help a stray cat, see if the cat has identification and contact the owner. If you are able to safely get the cat into a carrier, take it to the veterinarian or to an animal shelter and have the cat scanned for a microchip. Contact animal shelters, rescue groups and veterinarians to let them know you have found the cat – someone may have filed a missing cat report that matches your description. Ask your neighbors if they know the cat. Post signs in the neighborhood. While you search for the cat’s owner it is helpful if you can provide shelter for the cat. If the owner cannot be found, you may decide to adopt the cat yourself or try to find it a good home. (If you take the cat home with you, have it examined by a veterinarian before introducing it to your other cats.)
For community cats, stray cat rescue is not recommended. A humane method called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is used to manage cat communities. With this method, the cat is trapped, spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies, and then returned to its colony to live out its life.
Why You Should Use Cat Traps for Your Local Strays
Cat traps are a painless and humane method for safely capturing cats. Don’t try to pick the cat up to put it in a carrier. Use humane cat traps to ensure the safety of the cats and you.
Cat traps come in different styles, like a box trap or a drop trap. In some areas, you may be able to borrow a cat trap from a local animal shelter, or they may be able to teach you how to work with a cat trap. If you cannot borrow a cat trap, you can purchase a humane cat trap.
Before trapping begins, you should have a warm, dry, secure holding place ready to house the cat or cats that you trap. You must have your spay or neuter appointments scheduled before you trap. You must purchase or borrow your traps before you are ready to begin trapping, and you should have transportation ready to transport the trapped cats.
You may decide to use a cat trap to catch a neighborhood stray, or you may use cat traps to safely Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) community cats. Cat traps may be purchased, or sometimes they may be borrowed from local rescue organizations.
To learn more, read our article Why You Should Use Cat Traps for Your Local Strays.
What Is Trap Neuter Release?
Trap neuter release, or TNR as it is known, is a program that has been used in the United States for decades after its success in Europe. It is the humane approach to controlling feral cat overpopulation. In trap neuter release, the feral cats are trapped, neutered or spayed, and then returned to the very same spot where they were first caught.