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Community Cats Project

What is a community cat?

Any free-roaming cat seen outdoors could be considered a community cat. Some may have owners that allow them to wander outdoors, but many appear to be un-owned, either stray or feral. Some community cats are friendly, but truly feral cats would be unable to adjust to living indoors.

Benefits to the community

  • Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the most effective way to reduce the number of cats living outdoors
  • These altered cats do not multiply and over time the population is reduced due to natural attrition
  • Outdoor cats provide natural rodent control
  • The overall local cat population is healthier
  • Cats are vaccinated against rabies
  • Spay/neuter reduces nuisance complaints such as fighting, smelly urine, and unwanted kittens
  • TNR is cost effective. In our community, TNR is paid for by private donations. Calling animal care and control, housing a stray, and potential euthanasia all cost taxpayer money

Learn more about the Community Cats Program:

Carolina Insight: Community Cats & The Humane Society of Charlotte

How shelters benefit

  • Animal Control resources get wisely focused on animals in immediate danger or need, not diverted to collecting healthy cats
  • Healthy cats are less likely to be euthanized due to lack of space
  • Returning community cats to their outdoor homes, lets resources (time, effort, and money) be spent on pets that truly need their help
  • Owned cats that spend time outdoors are not accidentally added to the shelter population
  • If you are seeking to adopt a cat as a pet, visit our adoption page.

How you can help?
Call or email us to get more information about the Community Cats Project, 704-494-7717 or communitycats@humanecharlotte.org.

  • We have traps that can be loaned out to members of the public to use when trapping community cats in their community for TNR
  • Before attempting to trap, check for an ear-tip. Community Cats that have already been spay/neutered are likely to be ear-tipped and do not need to be caught a second time. Please note that while all ear-tipped cats have undergone spay/neuter, many owned cats are not ear-tipped so you would not be able to tell at a glance if they have been altered

Tips for caretakers
Caretakers should make sure the feeding area is kept clean. Only feed as much food as the cats can eat in one sitting. Remove all trash, food, and bowls within thirty minutes. This will keep from attracting wildlife. Plus, neighbors are more tolerant of a tidy property. You should also keep track of how many cats are in a colony and make sure any new additions are taken for spay/neuter.


Humane Deterrents

If you are frustrated with community cats or problems stemming from them, we can help! Contact our Community Cat Coordinator to find out which effective deterrents will work for your situation. Many deterrents are free or low cost. Options vary according to the complaint. For example, cats digging in a garden are often humanely stopped with leftover coffee grounds because cats do not like the scent of coffee. Our coordinator will also share additional perks of such deterrents, such as how the coffee grounds also serve double duty as healthy garden fertilizer.

Some humane deterrents, such as motion-activated sprinklers or audible devices, are available for loan from Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217. You can also purchase similar devices from online retailers such as Amazon.