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Learn more about this lifesaving option for community cats.

What are community cats?

Community cats, also known as "feral cats" or "neighborhood cats", are the direct result of unaltered and abandoned cats and their offspring independently inhabiting an area with life-sustaining resources like food, water, and shelter. Most community cats are unsocialized to people and will live happier lives in their outdoor environment rather than living in a home.

For more information on Trap-Neuter-Return, check out Alley Cat Allies. They'll have all the information you need about handling your community cats effectively and responsibly. 

What can I do?

The humane solution to working with Community Cats is through Trap-Neuter-Return.


With Trap-Neuter-Return, a humane trap is set out to catch an individual cat during the day or overnight. The contained cat is then brought to a low-cost spay/neuter facility where the cat will be neutered, given a rabies vaccination, and have its ear tipped. After the cat stays overnight to recoup from the surgery, the cat is then returned to their previous environment and released.


There are multiple locations around Chattanooga that participate in TNR to help reduce the overpopulation in shelters and in neighborhoods, including Scratch, McKamey Animal Center, and The Humane Educational Society

TNR reduces or eliminates behavior like fighting, territorial spraying, and yowling after they have been spayed or neutered.

Are there other options?

Ideally, TNR is the best option. Most Community Cats are unsocialized with people and will not do well in a shelter or brought into a home. Often times, when a cat prefers to be outside and is brought inside, they will resort to biting, scratching, and other destructive behaviors.

Removing a cat colony all together is also not a good option. By removing a cat colony from your area, you can create what is known as the "vacuum effect." The "vacuum effect" is when a group of Community Cats is removed from the area and a secondary group moves in because of the available resources such as food, water, and shelter. 

The best and most humane option is Trap-Neuter-Return. As soon as you see one or two new cats move in, check to see if they have already been TNR; if not, call your local animal shelter as soon as possible. 
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