6. Organize a community outreach component to educate the public, promote services, and build support.
The majority of callers reporting outdoor cats are looking for help. Callers can’t ask for services that they do not know are available. And they also may not understand all of their options.
Take advantage of every opportunity to educate.
Share educational materials and information about: feral cats and their life in colonies outdoors (that they are not candidates for adoption); humane ways to deter cats from unwanted areas such as gardens and play areas; Trap-Neuter-Return; and your organization’s response to feral cats through:
Promote your organization’s services.
When discussing your organization’s approach for feral cats with the public, explain:
- Trap-Neuter-Return and its benefits to the community and the lives of the cats.
- That you will be providing tools and support to community volunteers to help you implement Trap-Neuter-Return.
- In the case of shelters, your policy of no longer picking up or accepting stray and feral cats.
Share important information about cats.
Be aware that some community members will want the cats to “go someplace else” after they have been trapped. Educate the public about the vacuum effect and the failures associated with relocation of feral cats. Indicate that cats will not be removed from areas where they currently reside. In some cases it may be necessary to gently remind people that it is illegal for any individual to harm a cat, as stated in your state’s animal anti-cruelty laws.
Read more information that you can share with the public about how to deter cats from areas where they are not wanted.
Go to our marketplace to purchase brochures with this and other information to distribute in your community.
Build community support by including the public in your programs.
Purchase a supply of traps to lend out to the public. Consider charging a refundable deposit to ensure that traps are returned. Learn how to use the traps and become familiar with trapping techniques. Learn more about Alley Cat Allies equipment suggestions for feral cats. Include information about how to trap feral cats with each trap, and always make sure people borrowing traps sign an agreement stating that the traps will be used only for the purpose of Trap-Neuter-Return. Show borrowers how to set the traps before they leave your facility.
See the “People Power” section for more information about including community members in your programs.
Next Step: Evaluate the success of your Trap-Neuter-Return program