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Listen to Alley Cat Allies' Community Relations Podcast
Alley Cat Allies interviews the former Director of Operations of The Cat Welfare Society in Singapore, Dawn Kua. Topics discussed include mediation, easy and effective deterrents and how to preempt situations from escalating.

Preventative Measures

Practicing good community relations is often as easy as following standard feral cat care. These are steps you can take preemptively that may help you avoid potential questions or concerns altogether. And, if you happen to run into concerns from neighbors, these are some easy fixes that may allay their worries.

This section provides deterrent techniques, colony care tips, and tricks to divert cats from certain areas and make other areas attractive to them.

  • Install humane deterrents - There are many safe, low-tech methods to discourage feral cats from hanging out where they are not wanted, like neighbors’ gardens, yards, porches, or vehicles. Always offer to provide and apply these methods for neighbors at your own expense. Consider pooling resources with other caregivers, if possible, to cover the cost of such items. 
    Learn more about how to deter cats.
    Purchase the How to Live with Cats in Your Neighborhood brochure to distribute to your neighbors. 
  • Follow feeding protocol - Building attractive, but inconspicuous feeding stations can help maintain cleanliness. Feeding stations have the added benefit of helping to attract cats to certain areas—move their feeding area, and they will follow it. Keep the cats’ feeding stations or areas clean and trash free. Do not put out more food than the cats will finish in one meal, remove what they do not eat after 30 minutes, and clean up the area. 
    Learn how to build a feeding station. 
    Learn more about feeding protocol.
  • Provide shelter – Providing a shelter for cats means they will not have to go looking in neighbors crawl spaces or porches for a warm, dry place to rest. Cats can also be discouraged from climbing on cars or other private property by gradually moving their shelters away from these areas. Like the location of the feeding station, cats will follow their shelter. 
    See our list of 15 shelters you can build or purchase—in order of ease of set-up, including Alley Cat Allies' inexpensive do-it-yourself shelter.
  • Provide litter box areas - To keep cats from using neighborhood gardens as litter boxes, build one or more litter boxes or place sand or peat moss in strategic areas for the cats to use as litter (do not use conventional litter, as it will be ruined by weather). Be sure that the litter area is in a quiet, sheltered space. Scoop regularly to alleviate odors and keep flies away. Be prepared to scoop more often in hot weather.
  • Perform Trap-Neuter-Return - Neighbors are often bothered by behaviors associated with breeding, such as roaming, fighting, yowling, spraying, and the appearance of new kittens. Your Trap-Neuter-Return program will virtually eliminate these behaviors. 
    Read our Trap-Neuter-Return Guide.
    Trapping Cats: How to Trap an Entire Colony 
  • Maintain colony records. Though you should take every step to prevent neighbors from calling animal control, you should always be prepared for the possibility. This is why you should always maintain current, accurate health records, including vaccination data and photographs, for all of the cats in your colony. Use our colony tracking sheet to help.
  • Protect yourself and the cats. Use our sample agreement to document what you have discussed with neighbors or community members who have concerns. Describe the concerns and how you plan to address them. Make a note of who is responsible for the costs and the deadline for every action. Each party should receive a copy of the agreement. You should each sign the document to indicate that everyone agrees to the proposed solution. Then each party should sign the agreement again upon completion of the plan. This document will be written proof that you addressed your neighbor’s concern and she/he agrees that the situation has been resolved.