Conflicts with Property Management

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If you care for community cats on property that is not owned by you – for example: at an apartment complex, strip mall, or restaurant parking lot – you may experience conflicts with the property management.

IMMEDIATE ACTION STEPS if cats are being trapped for removal:

  • Keep cats out of traps. Take proactive measures to keep cats safe by keeping them out of the traps until the issue is resolved. You can do this by keeping them well fed; this makes them less likely to be tempted by any bait in the traps. You may choose to set up discrete feeding stations.
  • Keep track of and find missing cats. You should be keeping track of each cat so you can easily identify who has gone missing. Alley Cat Allies’ Community Cat Colony Tracking System can help. It keeps track of cats’ vaccination and spay and neuter information, which shows that you’re organized. Once you’ve determined who is missing, follow our tips on what to do if a cat you care for has been trapped and brought to a shelter.
  • Contact property management. Request that they stop trapping the cats and schedule a meeting with them to discuss the cats. Be prepared to educate them—let them know that Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane and effective approach to community cats, and that removing the cats will only cause a vacuum, allowing more cats to move in.

NEXT STEPS for mediating conflicts with property management:

  • Meet with property management. When property management has agreed to meet with you, remember to always remain calm and friendly, and listen to what they have to say. Come prepared with educational materials about community cats and Trap-Neuter-Return—it’s possible that they simply don’t know what the best approach for these cats is. Discuss how their concerns can be addressed in a humane way that allows the cats to stay in their outdoor home. See our negotiating tips on how to make your conversation most effective.
  • Build community support for the cats. Since cats can’t speak for themselves, they need you to be their spokesperson. You can build support by going door-to-door in neighborhoods around the property to find people who will advocate for the cats to stay. For example, if it’s an apartment complex, property management will likely respond best to its own tenants. Be prepared to share educational materials, and explain what the conflict is.
  • Know your local laws. Hopefully you are already familiar with your local laws that affect cats, but if you aren’t, find out about them. If your community has cat-friendly laws, you can use them in your conversations with property management. If your community is not cat-friendly, you might consider getting in touch with an attorney for legal advice.
  • Be prepared to escalate. If your discussions are not going well, be prepared to launch a campaign to protect the cats. Our guide to Organizing Your Community for Strategic Change for Cats will help. Often times, letting property management know that you’re planning to escalate the issue by notifying the public and the media will help reach a compromise (most organizations don’t like bad press).

Remember: your job is to speak for the cats and act in their best interest. You are their voice! If you need help negotiating, mediating, or just want someone to bounce ideas off of, our Feral Friends Network* can be a big help. Request a list of Feral Friends near you.

*Feral Friends are not representatives, employees, volunteers, or agents of Alley Cat Allies. Learn more in our FAQ.

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