What is a community cat?
A community cat is a cat that is free-roaming and unowned by a human. A community (colony) of cats can be one or more cats who live around a food source. This food source could be a dumpster behind a restaurant, or in a yard where someone is feeding them.
A community cat is not necessarily a feral cat. Feral is a behavior, and there are often both feral and friendly cats living in a single community. A community may even include pet cats that are indoor/outdoor cats that like to be in the community’s environment.
What is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?
Central Cat Coalition prefers using the term community cat because we believe that negative connotations are not helpful for cats in need of resources.
Typically, a stray cat is friendly and can be adopted. They are most likely abandoned by their previous owner or escaped from their home. A feral cat is not socialized with humans and lives happily outdoors. However, due to hormones, feral cats can experience harsh consequences of living outside which can be subdued via TNR.
What is TNR?
TNR stands for trap neuter and return (or release).
Community cats are trapped, taken to a vet for spay and neuter, vaccinated and ear-tipped. They are taken to a comfortable place to recover overnight, then released in the same area where they were trapped.
TNR is the only humane approach to addressing community cat populations.TNR improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces the strain on shelters, and stops the breeding cycle. TNR improves the co-existence between outdoor cats and humans in our shared environment.
Ear tipping is a standard practice in TNR programs because it allows us to quickly and easily identify cats who are fixed. One centimeter is removed from the tip of the left ear in a straight line cut while the cat is under anesthesia from their spay/neuter surgery.
To effectively manage a cat colony, we need to avoid trapping fixed cats for further needless surgical procedures.