Feral Cat Education and Assistance

 Alley Cats and Angels offers advice and assistance to individuals and other groups with respect to non-lethal feral cat management.

Click here to see our photo essay showing the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) process.

We assist local caregivers in several counties by loaning trapping equipment, demonstrating how to use the traps, and providing trapping instructions.  We also provide information on local low-cost spay/neuter programs, and can sometimes provide short-term care for the recovery of feral cats after surgery.

Our TNR Task Force teaches the basics of TNR and colony management for feral cats and actively assists the community in TNR efforts.  Our TNR Task Force also projects a strong unifying voice for feral cats and promotes community awareness of the responsible care and treatment of feral cats.

Each project typically takes a lot of time, planning, and work.  Alley Cats and Angels is a small volunteer organization, therefore we must rely on the involvement of the person asking for help.

General Information

What is a Feral Cat?

Feral cats are the “wild” offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners’ abandonment or failure to spay and neuter their animals, allowing them to breed uncontrolled.  A feral cat can also be a stray cat that was lost or abandoned and has lived away from the human bond long enough to revert to a wild state.  They are born outdoors and usually are hidden by their mothers; they have little or no human contact in the formative months.  Not socialized to humans, they view people as a danger.  As they are often nocturnal, you may not be aware of their presence or total colony size.

When feral cats live together, the group is called a “colony”.  Feral cat colonies can be found behind shopping areas or businesses, in alleys, parks, abandoned buildings, and rural areas.

Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at an early age.  There is a critical window, and if they are not handled in time, they will remain feral and, therefore, unadoptable.

Kitten during TNR

Little SpitFire

What is TNR?


Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the process of humanely trapping, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating feral cats and returning the cats to the same location they were trapped.  The population will stabilize over time as no more kittens are born.  Neutered males are also less likely to spray and fight.

Colony caretakers continue to trap and spay/neuter any “new” cats while providing food and possibly shelter.

Click below to download detailed information on TNR how to manage a feral colony:  http://www.alleycatsandangels.org/TNR-FeralColonyMgmt.pdf

TNR is the only effective, humane, and long-term solution in controlling feral cat populations.

“Catch and Kill” Does Not Work – Neither Does Complacency

Removal attempts may temporarily reduce the number of feral cats in a given area; however, two things happen: first, the unsterilized survivors continue to breed and, second, other cats move into the now available territory (known as the “vacuum effect”).

Stopping feeding will not make the cats go away.  Cats bond to their territory and can survive on garbage, if necessary.  Stopping feeding will only make the cats suffer as they search for new sources of food.

In communities not practicing TNR, several decades of “catch and kill” has done nothing to reduce the feral cat population – there are more cats than ever.  TNR is the only program that works to combat and end feral cat overpopulation.

TNR Works

TNR is the only successful long-term strategy for humanely controlling the population of feral or free roaming cats.  A sterilized colony of feral cats will stabilize, and eventually decline in numbers through illness, accidents, and old age.  A sterilized colony often acts to keep new, unsterilized cats away from their colony.

Studies have shown that TNR is the single most successful method of stabilizing and maintaining healthy feral cat colonies with the least possible cost to local government and residents, while providing the best life for the feral cats.

TNR also helps reduce the number of cats euthanized at shelters.  When fewer kittens are born to feral and stray cats, few cats and kittens enter shelters – which means fewer are killed because of lack of homes.

What You Can Do To Help Feral Cats in Your Area

  • Please don’t turn a blind eye to the situation
  • Be responsible – spay/neuter your own pets
  • Work with neighbors / local businesses to regularly put food out for feral cats.  It is best to put it out at a consistent time each day, preferably in daylight hours so as to not attract local wildlife (raccoons, possums, etc.).  We can teach you how to manage a feral colony.
  • Assist in trapping feral cats for sterilization and/or transporting to a vet or spay/neuter clinic.  We have traps available for loan and our volunteers can demonstrate how the traps work.  We can assist trapping those hard to catch cats.
  • Become an Alley Cats and Angels volunteer
  • Donate to our Alter an Alley Cat Fund which subsidizes spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations for feral cats and cats owned by people on fixed/low incomes.  Together, we can help end feral cat overpopulation.  Alley Cats and Angels is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax deductible. 

 Key Sources for Information on Feral Cats and TNR

Trap Loan Request
If you need to borrow a trap, please complete the trap loan request form.

Important: Alley Cats and Angels traps cannot be used to capture a healthy animal for destruction or surrender to animal control agencies. Traps are to be used for TNR purposes only.

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