A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with people or her contact with people has diminished over time. She is not socialized to people and survives on her own outdoors. Most feral cats are not likely to ever become lap cats or enjoy living indoors.
Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years. They are not a new phenomenon. Feral cats are members of the same species as pet cats—and are therefore protected under state animal anti-cruelty laws. The difference between feral cats and your pet cat is that they have had little or no contact with people, and so they are wary of us, and cannot be adopted. They have a home—outdoors. They live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland. Since feral cats are not adoptable, they should not be brought to animal pounds and shelters, because there they will likely be killed. Learn more about feral cats.
Stray cats are socialized to people and can be adopted into homes, but feral cats are not socialized to people and are happy living outdoors.
A stray cat:
- Is a cat who has been socialized to people at some point in her life, but has left or lost her indoor home, as well as most human contact and dependence.
- Can become feral as her contact with humans dwindles.
- Can under the right circumstances become a pet cat once again. Stray cats that are re-introduced to a home after living outdoors may require a period of time to re-acclimate; they may be frightened and wary after spending time outside away from people.
A feral cat:
- Is a cat who has either never had any contact with humans or her contact with humans has diminished over time. She is not socialized to people and survives on her own outdoors. Most feral cats are not likely to ever become lap cats or enjoy living indoors.
- Can have kittens who can be socialized at an early age and adopted into homes.
Find out more using our illustrated guide: Feral and Stray Cats—An Important Difference.
Feral cats are not a new phenomenon. Outdoor cats are part of our rich history in this country and worldwide.
Cats have been living among us here in the U.S. for hundreds of years. Feral cats are domestic cats. Feral cats thrive in every type of environment, urban, suburban, and rural. Some feral cats are offspring of house cats. Yet, not until the last two decades has there been accessible and affordable spay and neuter services for cats. And, until recent years, early-age (kitten) spay / neuter was not practiced (kittens go into heat between 4 and 6 months and traditional conventional-wisdom was to spay a cat at 6 month of age.)
Domestic cats came into existence about 10,000 years ago, when humans began farming. According to scientists, cats are one of the only animals who domesticated themselves—choosing to live near humans to feed on the rodents attracted by stored grain. Evolutionary research shows that the natural habitat of cats is outdoors in close proximity to humans—and that is how they have lived ever since. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1940s—and the invention of cat litter—that “indoors only” for cats was even a concept.
Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane, effective approach for feral cats. Feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. Socialized cats and kittens are adopted into homes. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap-Neuter-Return improves their lives and their relations with the community: the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop. Learn more.
We use the word “eartip” to describe when a small portion of the tip of a feral cat’s left ear is surgically removed during neuter surgery, to denote that the cat has been neutered and vaccinated. Eartipping is done while the cat is anesthetized and is not painful for the cat. Eartipping is the most effective way to identify neutered feral cats from a distance, to make sure they are not trapped or undergo surgery a second time.
The outdoors is the natural habitat for feral cats, and empirical evidence indicates they can live long and healthy lives: a 2006 study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery found that of 103,643 stray and feral cats examined in spay/neuter clinics in six states from 1993 to 2004, less than 1% of those cats needed to be euthanized due to debilitating conditions, trauma, or infectious diseases.
In addition, the lifespan of feral cats compares favorably with the lifespan of pet cats. A long-term study (published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2003) of a Trap-Neuter-Return program noted that 83% of the cats present at the end of the observation period had been there for more than six years—meaning that the cats’ lifespans were comparable to the mean lifespan of 7.1 years for pet cats.
Feral cat caregivers can take steps to make feral cats more comfortable, like neutering them, feeding them, and providing shelter. These steps promote the cats’ well-being, improve their relationships with neighbors, and assist the people who live nearby to understand and co-exist with the cats. But most feral cats don’t require intervention beyond Trap-Neuter-Return.
A feral cat is a cat who has either never had any contact with people or her contact with people has diminished over time. They are not socialized to people and cannot be touched, except sometimes by a regular caregiver.
The ideal window for socializing feral kittens is 12 weeks of age or younger—beyond 12 weeks, feral cats may never socialize completely or at all. As a result, we do not recommend attempting to socialize feral cats older than 12 weeks—it is dangerous and stressful for both you and the cat. Feral cats live healthy lives in their outdoors homes, and the best thing you can do to help them is Trap-Neuter-Return. Outdoor cats that are friendly and socialized to people are called stray cats, and they can be re-homed. Find out more using our illustrated guide: Feral and Stray Cats—An Important Difference.
Because feral cats are not socialized to people, they are unadoptable as pets. In most shelters and pounds in the US, unadoptable animals are killed. In fact, 70% of all cats who enter shelters are killed there, according to the most reliable data available. That number jumps to close to 100% for feral cats.
Many shelters now realize that allowing feral cats to enter their doors is a death sentence and that Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane approach for their care. In recognition of this, some pounds and shelters have a “no feral cats accepted” policy, as well as a policy of returning eartipped cats to the place where they were initially trapped. Unfortunately, there are more pounds and shelters that still kill feral cats—some as soon as the cat enters the facility. Feral cats live full, healthy lives outdoors, but are killed in shelters.
Animal control’s traditional approach for feral cats—catching and killing—is endless and cruel, and it does not keep an area free of cats. Cats choose to reside in a location for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. Because of a phenomenon called the vacuum effect, when cats are removed from a location, survivors of the catch and kill effort and new cats who have moved in breed to capacity. Cats have been living outside alongside people for 10,000 years—a fact that cannot be changed.
Alley Cat Allies offers extensive and detailed online resources for cat care in the Community Cat Care section of our website.
- Our How to Conduct Trap-Neuter-Return will teach you how to perform Trap-Neuter-Return.
- Our Colony Care Guide will provide tips for feeding, sheltering, and providing ongoing care.
- Our Community Relations Center provides you with the tools and information to help you bring about widespread change in your community and ensure that it continues to be a safe and happy home for both the cats and the neighbors.
- Our Veterinary Resource Center is the place to go to learn more about the special veterinary approach for feral cats that takes into account their unique needs and the fact that they are unsocialized to people.
- Our Socialized Cat Guide will help if you have found kittens or socialized cats.
You can also find local help with our Feral Friends Network. Request a list of Feral Friends in your area. The Feral Friends Network is a nationwide database of individuals, organizations, and veterinarians who can provide guidance about Trap-Neuter-Return, borrowing equipment, and obtaining affordable neuter services for feral cats.
First, do you know the difference between stray cats and feral cats? Stray cats are socialized to people and can be adopted into homes, but feral cats are not socialized to people and are happy living outdoors. To do what’s best for the cat, you need to know the difference!
- Find out by using our illustrated guide: Feral and Stray Cats—An Important Difference.
- If the cat you have found is a stray or if you find socialized cats or kittens during Trap-Neuter-Return, you can place them in adoptive homes. Visit our Socialized Cat Guide for simple step-by-step instructions for finding a loving, permanent new home for adoptable cats.
- If the cat appears frightened or anxious, but not feral, visit our Soothe a Stray page to learn how to bring out her friendly personality and maximize her chances of finding a good home.
- When deciding what to do with the cats you have found, it’s important to know that if you take a cat to an animal shelter, most shelters will likely kill the cat. Seventy percent of cats entering shelters are killed, and that number jumps to nearly 100% of feral cats and kittens. If you are still considering a shelter, always ask for the adoption procedures, typical duration of stay, and euthanasia policies before deciding if you should take a cat there. Even then, it is still at the shelter’s discretion to euthanize for any reason.
Good luck finding your friendly cat a home!
When you come across kittens living outdoors, you may wonder whether it’s better to take them into your home or leave them outside with mom. Whatever you decide, it should be in the kittens’ best interest. Here are some things to think about:
- Learn the factors you’ll need to consider when you find kittens—their age, your ability to care and socialize them, and their safety. Learn more in our Community Cat Care: Kittens section.
- Learn how to distinguish kitten age, using our Kitten Progression photos.
- Understand the care required if the kittens are neonatal. You will have to provide round-the-clock care. Find tips for that care in our Neonatal Kitten Care Guide. More resources for neonatal kitten care are also available in our online shop.
- If you are interested in socializing feral kittens, refer to our Socializing Feral Kittens guide.
- If you are looking for adoptive homes for kittens, please see the How to Find Homes for Stray Cats section.
You may also find it helpful to talk to Feral Friends in your area. Our Feral Friends Network is a nationwide database of individuals, organizations, and veterinarians who provide guidance about Trap-Neuter-Return, borrowing equipment, and where to find affordable neuter services for feral cats and kittens. You can request a list of Feral Friends by filling out our Local assistance form. After you complete the form you will immediately be emailed information tailored to your specific request for help. Even if the Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network members listed in your area cannot help directly, they may be able to point you in the right direction.
Trap-Neuter-Return is a great way to help the cats in your community; it improves the cats’ health and stabilizes the colony while allowing them to live out their lives outdoors.To successfully trap, neuter, vaccinate, eartip, and return feral cats to their outdoor home, you need a plan. Our guidelines for humane trapping, available in the How to Conduct Trap-Neuter-Return section of our website will get you on your way!
There you will find:
- Step-by-step instructions on how to do TNR.
- A helpful video that shows a trapping operation from start to finish.
- The equipment you will need and where to find it, including slideshows demonstrating how to set traps.
- Where to download or order our trapping guide booklet.
- Tips for how to trap that hard-to-trap cat.
If you’re looking for help at the local level, you should check out our Feral Friends Network—volunteers who have agreed to provide local advice and guidance to others working to implement Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats. To request a list of Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends, please return to our Find Local Assistance Form.
Thank you for searching out peaceful solutions to living with cats!It’s important to understand outdoor cat behaviors and what draws cats to certain areas. We have simple solutions to divert outdoor cats away from places they are not wanted! Learn how to carry out these tips in How to Live with Cats in Your Neighborhood. You can also visit the Preventative Planning page in our Community Relations Resource Centerfor more information.
IMPORTANT: Even in the best case scenarios relocation can be very dangerous for cats and ineffective. Relocation is stressful for cats and since community cats are not socialized to people they can be unpredictable. Community cats bond to their outdoor homes and will try to go back—in some cases cats have died in the process, when people misguidedly believe that their life will be better someplace else.
Relocating feral cats is not the “happy ending” many people may think it is. The truth is, it’s a complicated, risky, and time-consuming plan that rips frightened cats from their home—with no guarantee they will stay in the new location.
In high-tension situations, calls to “just move the cats” are extremely common. It can be tempting to offer the opposition an option they will easily accept, like relocation. But remember that you are always working towards a solution that is in the best interest of the cats—and relocation is not. Because of the negative impacts on the cats, relocation should be your last option, something to be considered only after you have exhausted all other possibilities and you truly believe that the cats’ lives are in imminent danger if they remain where they are.
A far better course of action is to resolve the problems that are causing the cats to be forced out of their home. Visit our Community Relations Resource Center to learn how to reach a compromise that allows the cats to remain in their original colony location by:
- Using peer mediation techniques
- Negotiating with decision makers
- Offering bargaining chips to reach a compromise
- Handling threats to cats
If you are considering relocating cats because their caregivers are no longer able to provide care, visit our Planning for Substitute Colony Care page for recruitment tips on finding new caregivers.
If you have considered all of the above and believe that relocation is the only option that is in the best interest of the cats, follow the steps in the Safe Relocation of Feral Cats section of our website.
Neutering is an important part of any Trap-Neuter-Return program, and the best thing you can do for stray and feral cats!Use these suggestions to find neuter programs for cats.
- If you have not already requested a list of Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends, please return to our Email Assistance Form and select the “Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network” option to find out if there are groups in your area that work with feral cats. Even if the organizations listed do not provide neuter services directly, they may be able to point you in the right direction.
- Contact the following low-cost neuter referral services:
You can also find fundraising advice to help you or your organization cover the cost of the neuter surgeries in our Fundraising Help section.
If you come across a sick or injured outdoor cat, there are steps you can take to get the cat the medical attention she needs. But since this cat is likely feral (and therefore fearful of people), you need a plan that will keep her safe and calm.
Your first course of action:
- Find a veterinary facility with experience treating and handling feral cats and with an understanding of feral cat behavior and Trap-Neuter-Return. To find out if there are any feral-friendly veterinarians near you, request a list of Feral Friends by returning to our Email Assistance Form. Or, you can provide your veterinarian with information about the proper handling and treatment of feral cats by visiting our Veterinary Resource Center.
- Once you’ve found a veterinarian, follow our steps for safely and humanely trapping cats, including those who are sick or injured, in the How to Conduct Trap-Neuter-Return section of our website.
- You will also have to consider what you will do in the event that the cat needs long-term care. Make sure you have an idea of where she can be held while she’s recovering or receiving medical treatment. And, have a plan for providing these things financially. Our financial resources for cat care can help.
- Ask about veterinarians’ euthanasia policy. Unfortunately, veterinarians who have not been trained to work with feral cats often suggest euthanizing feral cats rather than treating them. Please be aware of your veterinarian’s feral cat policies before taking cats there. Alley Cat Allies’ philosophy is that an animal should only be euthanized in the event of terminal illness or untreatable injury.
Physical threats—or worse, actual violence or cruelty—toward any member of your feral cat colony present a serious and frightening situation for you and for the cats. However, it is important to stay focused and calm—that will help you better protect the cats. Learn more details about the steps you should take (outlined below) in our Community Relations Resource Center. Intentionally hurting a cat is animal cruelty, and it is illegal in every state and the District of Columbia. Direct threats to cats should be taken seriously.
If someone has physically harmed your cats:
When a cat you care for is harmed or killed, it can be very difficult to know what to do. There are steps you can take to protect the cats remaining in the colony and bring justice for the cat who is injured or who you have lost.
- First, if the cat is injured, trap her and take her to the veterinarian immediately. Find a feral-friendly veterinarian – A local veterinary member of Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network can help with an injured cat and may be able to help you determine cause of death.
- Next, call the police and begin gathering as much evidence as possible. Make sure you take pictures and document as much evidence as you can find—write all of your observations in a journal and include dates and times. We know how difficult this will be if the cat was killed, but you must document how you found her with photographs. If at all possible, get a necropsy (an autopsy for animals) performed on the cat in order to find out the cause of death. Most states have a state laboratory that performs post-mortem tests on animals. Costs vary, but may be worthwhile if evidence aids in prosecution of the case.
At this point you may want to involve a lawyer. In order to protect the remaining cats you may consider installing a video camera on your property in order to have documentation of activity at all times of the day. This would not only aid with evidence in future cases, but could also serve as a deterrent for anyone coming onto the property with ill intentions. If the situation has escalated to the point where you want to involve a lawyer, these tips can help find one. Arm yourself with knowledge about local government structures as well as how to learn about your local ordinances.
Building a shelter for feral cats can keep them safe from the elements and help you control their location and deter them from neighbors’ properties. At www.alleycat.org/BuildAShelter, you’ll find instructions on how to build your own Alley Cat Allies’ inexpensive do-it-yourself wooden shelter, as well as Feral Cat Shelter Options, Alley Cat Allies’ list of shelter ideas from organizations and individuals all over the country sorted by ease of set-up.
Feeding stations are relatively easy to construct and create a place where the cats regularly come for food, which helps with trapping and controlling their location. Check out our Colony Care Guide for ideas and instructions for shelters you can build yourself. You’ll also learn where to place your feeding stations to keep the cats safe and deter insects.
When a property manager or animal control agency wants to trap and remove cats, your goal is to try to protect the cats. Learn more details about the steps you should take (outlined below) in our Community Relations Resource Center.
- Set up a Meeting – Call to schedule a meeting with the owner, property manager, or animal control director; be professional and diplomatic.
- Prepare for the Meeting –The key to any response is to remain calm at all times and to make sure that any comments you make are grounded in truth and fact. When preparing, always look for the positive way to present your case. Learn more about how to prepare for a meeting.
- Prepare for Negotiation – Use these negotiation tips for finding common ground and a resolution.
- Mediate with your Opponents – Find out what your opponent’s specific concerns are relating to the cats and provide possible solutions for them. Many times concerns or complaints can be easily addressed.
- Use Bargaining Chips – Part of negotiation is offering services in exchange for getting what you want for the cats. This list of services could help you seal the deal.
- Educate Property Managers – Use these educational materials and outreach tools to help you explain to the property manager, or your local animal control agency, what you’re doing and why.
- Get Input from Local Feral Cat and Trap-Neuter-Return Experts – Contact a member of Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network. These feral-friendly organizations and individuals may be able to provide you with further advice and guidance. Request a list of Feral Friends Network member in your area.
Congratulations on your decision to start a nonprofit organization! It is a great step toward effectively helping cats in your area. Alley Cat Allies has comprehensive resources on our website that can help you launch an organization, recruit supporters and volunteers, and provide quality services.
- For a step-by-step guide to starting a nonprofit organization, visit our Starting Your Own Organization to Help Cats section.
- While you are establishing your organization, materials in the Change Your Community and Build Trap-Neuter-Return Capacity sections will teach you more about working with your community and with the media to improve the lives of cats.
Good luck and don’t forget to join Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network so your new organization can support other people caring for cats in your community!
If you’ve been threatened with or given a citation, we realize that you may be in a difficult situation, and facing difficult decisions about caring for cats. We understand that you might be continuing to care for cats even with the citation, risking fines or worse. You’re not alone! More than 40% of Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to care for and feed feral cats. We’re working every day to make sure everyone knows that caring for cats is common and mainstream—and must be supported.
- Get help and information if you’re facing a citation. If you do get involved in a situation where you need legal advice, use our information about how to find a lawyer. Laws, ordinances, and their citations are different all over the country. Local laws regarding outdoor cats can be confusing and often those who are enforcing them misinterpret the ordinances or enforce them inconsistently. You’ll have to read your local laws and know your rights (learn more).
- Organize with others in your community to stop a proposal or fight one already in place. There is power in numbers—our Organizing your Community for Strategic Change for Cats section can help you get started. Open a dialogue with community leaders and organizations to educate them about why ordinances work against the cats and the community, and encourage them to adopt an effective, proven method: TNR.
- Talk to your neighbors about the cats. For information on how to talk to your neighbors about feral cats, avoid potential conflicts, and resolve issues peacefully, visit our Community Relations Resource Center.
- To learn other ways that you can help the cats for whom you are caring, please go to the Care for Cats section of our website.
If you have time to fax (240-482-1990) or mail (7920 Norfolk Ave., Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814 Attn: Citation Information) us a copy of your citation, we monitor and track trends in the types of citations being issued around the country so we can continue to advocate on a national level for caregivers like you.
Receiving a citation can be discouraging, but be confident that caring for cats is the right thing to do. Thank you again for caring for cats—we appreciate everything you do to help us protect and improve their lives!
Here is some basic information about ordinances as they relate to owned cats, and stray and feral (unowned) cats:
Many ordinances negatively impact feral cats and their caregivers, not to mention owned cats, pet owners, and even taxpayers and the community at large. Learn more about these negative laws, such as leash, license, feeding bans, and mandatory spay/neuter.
Even well-intentioned ordinances (like those that legislate or require Trap-Neuter-Return) can cause more harm than good because they create regulations and restrictions—and subsequently, penalties and liabilities—where there were none. Alley Cat Allies recommends against legislating the details and requirements of Trap-Neuter-Return, but approves of Trap-Neuter-Return being the official policy for a town, city, or state.
Ordinances that are in the best interests of cats are those that create or support programs for cats, such as affordable, accessible spay-neuter or community outreach and education about the best approach for feral cats. Learn about drafting cat-friendly ordinances and view an ordinance worked on by Alley Cat Allies.
Remember, if your community is looking to put into place a policy that is in the best interest of cats, ordinances legislating TNR are not necessarily the way to go.
Interested in changing your community’s ordinances or policies around TNR? Learn how to campaign and organize to effect change and improve cats’ lives. And, learn more about animal-related ordinances.
If you have received a citation because of an ordinance or law, visit our Citations Help section.
You can pay tribute to a special person or animal companion or honor their memory by making a gift in his or her name to Alley Cat Allies. Learn more about making a tribute gift.
Make an online gift in honor or memory of a person or animal.
If you would prefer to make your donation over the phone, please call 1-866-309-6207.
Alley Cat Allies gladly accepts in-kind donations, including supplies for the cats in our adoption program, provided there is a need for the donation. Acceptance is determined on a case by case basis. Please email us a description of your item(s) and your location or call 1-866-309-6207.
Yes. When you donate to Alley Cat Allies via our website or purchase items from our online shop, your personal information is encrypted and transmitted via a secure connection. Alley Cat Allies uses your credit card information only for the purpose of processing your donation. We will not disclose this information except as necessary to process your donation or purchase and we do not store it once your donation has been processed.If you would prefer to make a donation or purchase items from our store over the phone, please call 1-866-309-6207.
Yes. Alley Cat Allies is a registered nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Alley Cat Allies gladly accepts in-kind donations, provided there is a need for the donation. Acceptance is determined on a case by case basis. Please email a description of your item(s) and your location or call 1-866-309-6207.
Our vehicle donation program lets you turn your used car, van, truck, RV, motorcycle, boat, or even airplane into a charitable contribution to Alley Cat Allies. Proceeds from the sale of donated vehicles pump much-needed dollars into our programs. Learn more about the program.
Donate your used vehicle today.
From every dollar we receive, 78¢ goes toward educational and outreach programs, with only 7¢ used for administration and 15¢ spent on fundraising—we use well over the 65¢ that watchdog groups indicate charities should spend on program expenses. Alley Cat Allies is very proud of these figures! View our annual reports by year as well as other financial information.
Our Federal tax ID number is: 52-1742079.
Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network is a worldwide database of individuals and groups across who are actively working to protect and improve the cats’ lives. Our Feral Friends Network members have self-identified their expertise in Trap-Neuter-Return, foster and adoption of socialized cats and kittens, education and advocacy, and veterinary care and have committed themselves to helping the cats in their community. Feral Friends are not representatives or agents of Alley Cat Allies and are not required to provide hands-on assistance.
The Feral Friends Network can be accessed anytime, 24/7 by visiting www.alleycat.org/FindFeralFriends. Simply input your information and click submit to receive an email with the current listing of everyone working in your community.
Our Feral Friends Network members are not required to provide hands-on assistance. Rather, they have volunteered to share their knowledge with you and may offer advice, support, educational resources, and even referrals to local groups. The decision to provide any kind of hands-on support is at the discretion of each individual Feral Friends Network member.
No. Feral Friends are not representatives, employees, volunteers, or agents of Alley Cat Allies. Alley Cat Allies adds individuals and groups to the Feral Friends Network based on the representations they make regarding their knowledge, experience, and practices. Alley Cat Allies does its best to provide reliable contacts and information through this program, but cannot guarantee that any assistance or information you receive through the program will be helpful, reliable, accurate, legitimate, and/or free from incidents or errors. Alley Cat Allies cannot assume any responsibility for any liability which may arise.
While Alley Cat Allies does its best to maintain an accurate database of all our Feral Friends Network members, we do rely in part upon each individual Feral Friends Network member to contact us whenever their phone or email information changes. As such, Alley Cat Allies cannot guarantee that all information provided is current and apologizes if any of the information sent to you is out of date. Help us keep our list current by sending outdated contacts to email@example.com.
Although Alley Cat Allies does its best to connect with caregivers and advocates across the country, we are still growing and cannot guarantee assistance in every part of the country. We rely heavily on our supporters to take the initiative and offer to help the cats. If you are unable to find the support you need through our Feral Friends Network, try reaching out to our National Cat Help Desk at www.alleycat.org/Assistance, and see how you can become empowered to be an advocate for cats in your community.
Alley Cat Allies is always seeking new and experienced individuals and groups to add to our Feral Friends Network. You might be a qualified candidate if you have knowledge and experience working with community cats and would feel comfortable answering questions from the general public in any of the following categories:
- Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Assistance – You are an experienced trapper or caregiver who would like to share your knowledge of community cats and TNR with anyone concerned about the cats living outdoors.
- Foster & Adoption Assistance – You are an experienced foster who would be willing to share your knowledge and expertise in properly caring and finding homes for socialized cats and kittens.
- Education & Advocacy Assistance – You are a passionate and experienced advocate who is interested in working with neighborhoods, cities, or communities to protect and improve the lives of cats.
- Veterinary Assistance – You are a veterinary professional who is able to provide services for community cats or offer low-cost spay and neuter services.
- Other Assistance – You have a unique skillset that could benefit people caring or advocating for cats. Such skills may include: legal services, website and graphic design services, photography services, etc.
- Trap Rentals – You own or have access to humane box traps or drop traps and would be willing to lend them to members of the community to assist with TNR efforts.
If you do not yet have experience working with community cats, you might consider volunteering with some of our Feral Friends Network members. Many of the Feral Friends Network members are actively working and helping the cats in your community and would likely appreciate your help! You can access the list of people and organizations working in your community by visiting www.alleycat.org/FindFeralFriends. Just reach out, connect, and see how you can lend a hand and help the cats!
If you are receiving duplicate mailings, please email us with the address and/or names that are being duplicated. We will correct the situation and someone will be in touch with you if there are any additional questions.
First, try using our search box, located at the top of all of our pages. Helpful hint: put your search terms in quotes to make your search as specific as possible. The search function does not yet include content inside PDF files, so newsletters and factsheets may not be returned in this search.You could also access our sitemap. The sitemap gives you a hierarchical outline of the website’s content.
You can request information through our personalized Email Assistance Form. This interactive form provides you with answers to our most common questions. After you complete the form you will immediately be emailed information tailored to your specific request for help.
The best (and fastest) way to get answers to your questions or let us know about things going on in your community is to use our Get Help page.
Alley Cat Allies is a national advocacy organization, so we are not equipped to handle individual situations. We are able to provide excellent online resources which will give you the know how to care for cats in your area and put you in contact with local advocates, caregivers, and veterinarians.
You can request information through our personalized Advice About Cats Form. After you complete the form, you will immediately be emailed information tailored to your specific request for help.
You can also find local help with our Feral Friends Network. Request a list of Feral Friends in your area using our Email Assistance Form. The Feral Friends Network is a nationwide database of individuals, organizations, and veterinarians who can provide guidance about Trap-Neuter-Return, borrowing equipment, and obtaining affordable neuter services for feral cats.
Alley Cat Allies is a national advocacy organization, and does not operate a spay/neuter clinic. We can, however, put you in contact with resources in your area through our Feral Friends Network. The Feral Friends Network is a group of organizations and individuals with hands-on Trap-Neuter-Return and feral cat expertise and veterinary practices and clinics that spay and neuter feral cats.
Request a list of Feral Friends in your area using our email assistance form. After you complete the form you will immediately be emailed information tailored to your specific request for help. Even if the Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network members listed in your area do not provide spay/neuter services directly, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Use the list of Feral Friends in your area to do a little research!
The following are low-cost spay and neuter referral services:
- ASPCApro spay/neuter database – A list of spay/neuter clinics across the country.
- Humane Alliance – List of high-volume clinics across the United States.
- Spay USA – 1-800-248-7729
- Friends of Animals – 1-800-321-PETS
You can also find fundraising advice to help you or your organization cover the cost of the neuter surgeries in our Fundraising Help section.
To better serve all our supporters in the fastest and most efficient way, we have taken the information we’ve learned from our years of experience and created detailed, easily accessible resources for cat care and cat advocacy online. Below are a few resources you might find helpful to get you started. Explore our website for even more information on advocacy, organizing, and Trap-Neuter-Return.
- For advice on how to talk to your neighbors about feral cats, negotiate with decision makers, and resolve issues peacefully, visit our Community Relations Resource Center.
- For facts to back up your Trap-Neuter-Return efforts, read our Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return.
- For tips on gathering support, visit our Recruiting Supporters, Volunteers, and Employees page.
- Interested in changing your community’s ordinances or policies around TNR? Learn how to campaign and organize to effect change and improve cats’ lives. And, learn more about animal-related ordinances.
- To learn other ways that you can help the cats for whom you are caring, please go to our Care for Cats section.
Alley Cat Allies actively monitors and takes action on feral cat situations throughout the United States. Please use our Email Assistance Formto tell us about the situation you are facing.
Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network is a nationwide database of:
- Organizations and individuals with hands-on Trap-Neuter-Return and feral cat expertise, AND
- Veterinary practices and clinics that neuter feral cats.
Feral Friends are volunteers who have agreed to provide local advice and guidance to others working to implement Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats.
You can request a list of Feral Friends who serve your area by filling out our Email Assistance Form.
Alley Cat Allies is not a grant-making organization.
The following are low-cost spay and neuter referral services: