Stray Cat Services: Addressing Overpopulation and Providing Care for Community Cats

Stray Cat Services Near Me

Tens of thousands of stray and feral cats, collectively known as community cats, survive in alleys, tenement basements, parking lots and backyards across NYC. They live without owners and breed wildly, causing an overpopulation crisis.

A feral cat is usually unapproachable and will only eat if extremely hungry. Look for a tipped ear to identify a cat that has been spayed or neutered through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).


Millions of unwanted dogs and cats end up in shelters each year. Many of them are put to sleep (euthanized) because there aren’t enough homes for them. Every hour nearly 2,500 puppies and kittens are born in the United States, and females can become pregnant as early as five months of age.

Spaying and neutering are essential to preventing pet overpopulation. These routine medical procedures also help your pet live a longer, healthier life and may prevent health problems like reproductive diseases.

The best way to help community cats is through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR is a humane, cost-effective solution to stabilize free-roaming cat populations. TNR volunteers work with local communities to humanely trap, sterilize and return community cats to their outdoor homes. This stops the breeding cycle and eliminates nuisance behaviors like roaming, fighting/yowling and spraying/marking. It can also reduce disease transmission to pets and humans. TNR programs are supported by city funding and are implemented in neighborhoods throughout NYC.

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Thousands of communities across the United States and the world use TNR to humanely reduce community cat populations. Unlike trap-and-kill methods, TNR stabilizes and decreases the size of feral cat colonies over time, and it also reduces shelter intake and euthanasia rates.

With TNR, entire colonies of free-roaming cats are humanely trapped, sterilized, vaccinated (including rabies), ear tagged and returned to their outdoor homes. This halts reproduction, reduces nuisance behaviors (fighting, yowling and territorial marking), and makes the cats healthier. TNR also creates a point of contact for concerns about community cats, and it opens the door for education and outreach.

Several local TNR groups operate in the area—contact one for more information about caring for and feeding community cats. If you are concerned about stray or feral cats in your neighborhood, talk with your neighbors and see if they would be interested in partnering on TNR with you to address any issues. Be sure to offer education about spaying and neutering, TNR and responsible cat care.


Tens of thousands of cats that people call stray or feral live in the outdoor spaces of New York City. These community cats—who often get food from neighbors, local businesses and philanthropists—are not family pets; they were abandoned by their owners or born on the streets.

If you see a stray cat outside, approach carefully and observe the behavior. If it’s tame enough to be adopted, find out if it has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

Then, consider bringing it to a shelter or rescue group that offers adoptions. A few groups in the city work exclusively to place rescued animals with forever homes:

Social Tees Animal Rescue, for example, is a foster-based nonprofit that has a robust program for adopting out young kittens and friendly adult cats. It has a dedicated group of volunteers who provide housing and veterinary care for these animals.


Tens of thousands of stray and feral cats live in New York City, most of them living in groups called colonies. Generally, they don’t have owners and are not socialized to people. They live in alleys, tenement basements, and other outdoor spaces where they can find food and shelter. They often breed at a high rate and can have up to three litters per year. They are a nuisance and a health risk to the community, but many residents care for them by feeding and providing outdoor shelter.

ACC partners with rescue groups that have a mission of community cats to assist with trapping and vaccinating community cats, tagging them with ear tip markings, and returning them back to their outdoor homes. This reduces shelter admissions, euthanasia rates, and allows communities to maintain control of their community cats. CARE also provides consultation and loaner traps to property owners who wish to trap community cats on their properties as long as they are willing to continue feeding and caring for them.

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