What Are Community Cats?
© Alley Cat Allies
"Community cat" is an umbrella definition that includes any un-owned cat. These cats may be "feral" (un-socialized) or friendly, may have been born in the wild or may be lost or abandoned pet cats. Some community cats are routinely fed by one or more community members, while others survive without human intervention. Whatever a cat's individual circumstances, the term 'community cat' reflects the reality that for these cats, 'home' is virtually within the community rather than in an individual household." 
The terms "community", "feral", "outdoor" and "free-roaming" are often used interchangeably depending on context and geographic location of the respective colony of cats. We typically use the term "free-roaming" as a large portion live in the many rural areas of Pinal County.
- How Do They Affect Our Companion (Pet) Cats and Shelters?
- Community (free-roaming) cats are often brought in to our Animal Control shelters by both individuals and Animal Control officers. They are considered "strays".
- Because they arrive as "strays", they are held for possible reclaim by an owner (which rarely happens); therefore, taking up precious kennel space that could be used for other adoptable cats and kittens.
- Because they are likely labeled as "feral" and are not socialized with people, there's an extremely high chance they cannot be adopted out to the public. So, there's only one option left for the shelter.
- Youch - on both accounts! There is a better way . . . TNR.
- What Is TNR (Trap - Neuter - Return)?
- Trap cats in humane traps.
- Neuter or Spay ("fix") cats and left "ear tipped", the international sign of a fixed cat.
- Return cats to the trapped location.
- What Are the Benefits of TNR?
- Ends the breeding cycle - no more unwanted litters!
- Reduces spraying, yowling & fighting.
- Humanely reduces the free-roaming cat population through spay/neuter and natural attrition.
- Keeps these cats out of our shelters by using an established TNR program.
Who to Contact
- For information or assistance with community cats or TNR, please contact:
- ADLA's Spay Neuter Hotline
- 602-265-7729 (SPAY)
 Feline Shelter Intake Reduction Program FAQ's
Dr. Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM and Dr. Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, January 2013.