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Photo by Susan Guzy

Protect Cats

Cats still make up the majority of the animals euthanized in shelters, and of the 30-40 million community cats in the U.S., only about 2 percent are sterilized. We're promoting best practices and progressive strategies for supporting and managing community (feral and stray) cats, making shelter cats happier, and keeping cats in homes by a focus on behavior.

Spotlight > Protect Cats

Cats and public health

Get the facts about community cats and the risks to public health

Many animals, both wild and domesticated, can pass diseases to people. These are known as zoonotic diseases. Although we should be concerned about such diseases (like rabies, toxoplasmosis and more ), there are some common myths about the public health risks associated with community cats. In most cases, a compassionate coexistence between cats and humans can be established—and knowing how to prevent zoonotic disease is the best medicine.

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  • Guide

    Return-to-Field Handbook

    Modern animal sheltering has realized that our shelters are not necessarily the best place for cats, especially cats used to living outdoors. For most healthy impounded stray cats, sterilizing, vaccinating, ear-tipping and returning them to where they were found is a better tactic. This practice, known as return-to-field or shelter-neuter-return, is based on the idea that if these community cats were doing well before entering the shelter, they will do will if they are returned, finding food and support from people in that neighborhood.

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  • Guide

    What are animal shelters are doing to protect wildlife from cats?

    There are many things animal shelters, rescue groups and animal control agencies do to keep local wildlife safe from cats. Shelters may not even think of these actions as being helpful to wildlife, yet it is important to note the value in this work for a broad range of species.

    Here are some things local organizations may do to help both cats and wildlife:

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  • Guide

    Feeding guidelines for community cats

    Where, when and how you feed community cats are important factors in maintaining healthy cats, preventing conflicts with wildlife and keeping the harmony with your human neighbors.

    Here are some best practices guidelines:

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