Resources for Caring for Community Cats

Seeing outoor cats in your neighborhood? Outdoor cats fall into one of three categories:

  • Owned cats who are allowed outside
  • Friendly strays who were abandoned or are lost pets
  • Feral/wild cats (A feral cat is a cat who was born on the streets and grew up with little or no human contact. They are usually silent, will not approach people and are usually seen only from dusk to dawn.) 

Download: Identifying Stray Cats; Identifying Fixed Pets (PDF)

Community Cat Procedures

Here are the basic things to know if you plan to bring community cats to Humane Ohio for spay/neuter this year:

  • Outdoor cats may come in BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
  • We are currently scheduling out into September and October for community cat appointments. We understand how very frustrating this is and will add appointments as we are able, but please be aware if you submit the appointment request form that there is currently a wait of several months. If you'd like to go ahead and request an appointment for one or more community cats, complete this form. We have also compiled a list of other spay/neuter clinics who provide services for community cats that you can reach out to in an attempt to get a sooner appointment. 
  • We will not perform spay/neuter on outdoor cats during January or February for the safety of the cats and likelihood of inclement weather. 
  • Once you have scheduled an appointment -
    • If the cats are able to be safely handled by strangers, they are welcome to arrive for their appointment in a secure cat carrier. Otherwise they should arrive in a cat-sized humane live trap.
    • If, after you make the appointments, you know you will not be able to bring cats in that day for any reason, please call (419-266-5607 ex.109) or email ( to cancel your appointment as soon as possible so that others may get in sooner.
  • As always, cats getting the community cat package/price will receive an ear-tip and a rabies vaccine if they are 12 weeks of age or older. The ear-tip is not optional. If you wish to not have the cat receive an ear-tip, you will be charged the normal price for an indoor cat (currently $60)

Again, all trappers need to schedule appointments ahead of time and bring cats only on days they have an appointmentDo NOT trap cats to bring in until you have an appointment set up and it is within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment.

Animal care and safety is our number one priority, and taking in unlimited numbers of cats does not allow us to provide a safe, comfortable place for the cats or provide the diligent care we pride ourselves on. Please be understanding of the rules so that we can continue to serve as many cats as possible.

Thank you!

What should I do?

If the cat is friendly, take him to a veterinarian to scan for a microchip and try to find the owner in case he's a lost pet. If no owner is found, try to place the cat in a home by using social media and reaching out to friends, family and co-workers. You can also try to place the cat with a rescue group, although most groups work from a waiting list.

Feral cats are generally euthanized when taken to a shelter because they are not considered adoptable. Many animal shelters lack volunteers and resources to bottle-feed and socialize kittens, making them at high risk for euthanasia, too. 

If you cannot find a home or a rescue group for the friendly cat and must leave him outside, or if the cat is feral, the most effective and humane approach is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).


Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

The safest place for pet cats is indoors, but the only environment suitable for feral cats is outside.

Trap-Neuter-Return humanely reduces the number of outdoor community cats by preventing new litters. Cats are trapped, spayed/neutered, ear-tipped and returned to the area where they were found. Cats are territorial animals and form strong bonds with the location they call home. Humane Ohio does NOT recommend relocation; it should only be done under extreme circumstances when the cats' lives are in danger. Moving a colony of feral cats - and convincing them to stay - is a complex process.


Ear-tipping is a visual way to identify outdoor community cats that have been spayed or neutered. It's a standard practice used nationwide.

Removing or killing cats doesn't work. When you remove cats from their outdoor homes, new cats on the outskirts will move in because whatever drew the cats there originally has not changed (garbage cans, dumpsters, shelter). We've received calls from communities asking us for help after they removed cats and saw the numbers return after a year.

How Humane Ohio Helps

Humane Ohio takes the lead locally helping people care for outdoor community cats. We provide low-cost spay/neuter; lend traps; sell cat shelters, have useful Fact Sheets on our website and offer humane solutions to people who don't like cats. 

How You Can Help

  • Have outdoor community cats fixed at Humane Ohio. Our staff can walk you through the TNR process.
  • Borrow an easy-to-use humane trap from us.
  • Provide food, water and shelter. You can purchase a winter cat shelter at Humane Ohio or make your own. (Instructions at:
  • Monitor the colony. Bring new cats into Humane Ohio to be fixed.
  • Join the Cattitude Team! We have a Facebook group so you can network with others who are caring for outdoor community cats.
  • Offer a home to a "working cat". If you have a barn, horse stable or greenhouse and are willing to accept feral cats who are spayed/neutered and vaccinated, email and we can connect you to local groups who have outdoor cats in need of placement. 
  • Hold a fundraiser or make a donation to the Dr. Kelly Memorial Fund to help spay/neuter outdoor community cats.


Humane Ohio community cat life saving is supported by the Petco Foundation.