A community cat is a cat that lives outdoors and does not have one specific home or owner, but rather a territory. These cats are frequently social and are being fed by multiple residents in the area who may or may not be aware of each other. Many people refer to these cats as “strays,” “neighborhood cats” or “ferals” but regardless of the label, these are cats that are thriving outdoors.
If these cats are left intact, they will continue to multiply rapidly and are likely to cause problematic behaviors such as marking/spraying, yowling, and fighting. However, removing the cats from their territory actually makes things worse.
The vacuum effect occurs when a community cat is removed from its territory, leaving its territory undefended and results in multiple cats dividing its territory, resulting in more cats and more problems.
To end cat overpopulation issues, prevent the spread of disease, and stop problematic behaviors, these cats need to be sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to their territory – a process known as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
While veterinarians spay/neuter outdoor community cats and barn cats, they “notch” their right ear for easy identification from far away. If you see a cat with an ear notch, they’ve already been through a TNR Program!
Dallas Animal Services partners with multiple agencies in the DFW-area that provide TNR to the community. If you have cats in your area and you’re ready to be a part of the solution, please reach out to the following partners*:
Feral Friends works to mentor you through the process of TNR and can loan traps for you to take cats to a vet who participates in a TNR program.
Please visit their website for more information.
Please follow up with them directly to learn more about their COVID-19 operations.
Spay Neuter Network Free Community Cat Clinics
City of Dallas Residents with an SR number may have community / feral cats spayed or neutered at no cost to them through Spay Neuter Network. See instructions and additional information here.
Our Community Cat program is currently under construction, but we are working to identify our community needs. If you are a colony caretaker, or aware of an active cat colony, please complete this form to help track the community population.
If you’ve found outdoor kittens, read more before picking them up to ensure you’re not “kitnapping.”