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What to Do in Conflicts with Property Management

(Download a PDF version of this document.)

If property management—such as a business owner, city employee, groundskeeper, or housing community superintendent—has told you to stop feeding outdoor cats on public or private land, or if they are trapping or threatening to trap cats you care for, follow these steps to protect the cats and resolve the conflict:

1. Count all of your cats.

Knowing how many cats you care for will help you identify if cats have been trapped and, if so, which ones. Having records of the colony will also prepare you for negotiating. Use our tracking sheet to guide you.

2. Look for any missing cats.

If cats are missing, immediately go to local pounds or animal shelters in person to find and claim them. It is crucial to go in person. Do not just call. If the cats aren’t at the shelter, return often to check for them. You can leave their descriptions, your phone number, and a note to call you immediately, but never rely on shelter personnel to identify your cats. Go in person as often as necessary.

3. Stop the trapping and set up a meeting.

If trapping has begun, call the property managers and request that they stop trapping immediately and meet with you to discuss humane solutions. Follow up on your request in writing. If more than three meeting requests are ignored, skip to step 5.

4. Negotiate for the cats.

Get your facts together, dress professionally, and plan your talking points. Remain calm and objective. Do not go alone—bring a member of our Feral Friends Network or other representative from a Trap-Neuter-Return organization, or another advocate or caregiver. Offer effective bargaining chips that benefit everyone like TNR and colony care—not relocation. Find more tips on negotiating.

5. Start a Trap-Neuter-Return program.

If you haven’t already, begin a targeted TNR program to ensure that all cats on the property are neutered. One of the strongest bargaining chips you can offer is effectively, humanely stabilizing the cat population. Learn how to practice targeted trapping to trap the whole colony. Not experienced with trapping? Learn how to carry out TNR. You can also ask the Feral Friends Network members in your area for advice, or attend one of our Helping Cats in Your Community Webinars.

6. Build community support for the cats.

Establish yourself as the contact person for the cats by going door to door. If the cats live in a housing community or industrial area, you may be able to find support among tenants or employees. Fill them in on the situation with property management and hand out truth cards to answer their questions. Educate them about feral cats and how TNR helps the whole community. Find truth cards and more resources.

7. Connect with local cat-friendly groups.

Find other organizations in your area that support your efforts through Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network. Contact us to get a list.

8. Host a Community Cats workshop.

Follow our easy template to educate property managers and community members about how TNR works. Get everything you need including a script, videos, and handouts.

9. Encourage others to take action.

If property management refuses to meet with you or still does not support TNR after you meet, urge the supporters you’ve recruited to contact them in support of the cats. Property managers respond best to people who spend money on the property (customers of businesses or resorts, residents of condos and apartment buildings, etc.), but every voice helps! Consider what is the best contact method to get what you want—emails, phone calls, and/or personal visits to the property managers—and provide everyone with the necessary contact information. Encourage people to be polite when they contact the property managers.

10. Involve local media.

If property management still refuses to meet with you or still does not support TNR, write letters to the editor or pitch the cats’ story to reporters and news stations. Drawing attention to property management’s inhumane treatment of the cats will add public pressure to do the right thing. Contact the media using our tips and templates.

11. Make your community more cat-friendly.

Advocate for cats communitywide by changing policies and laws to protect them. Our Advocacy Toolkit will arm you with the basics in citizen lobbying and prepare you to advocate for cats.

Get tips on organizing, strategizing, and campaigning in your community.