Caring for Community Cats

Feral cats, stray cats, community cats, domestic cats, owned cats, wild cats- there are several terms used by rescue and shelter organizations to describe the many differences of cats and it can sometimes get a bit confusing. The term “Community Cats” is an umbrella term that refers to any cat living outside and is also unowned, which includes both feral and stray cats. Often times the terms feral and stray are used interchangeably, but there’s actually a big difference between the two types of cats. Below is a quick reference sheet comparing feral and stray cats to help better understand the difference!

That being said, socialization isn’t also so black and white, as many of us know! Socialization is on a spectrum and varies between every cat depending on their upbringing and experiences. Alley Cat Allies gives a great explanation of this on their website and we’ve created an infographic to quickly reference and also help explain both sides of the socialization spectrum.

Many community cats that are not socialized to people prefer the outside and have lived there for the duration of their lives, adapting to every season and change in their environment. They can live full, healthy lives with their feline families (called colonies) in their outdoor homes. Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane and permanently effective way to reduce the population of community cats while helping them live happy healthy lives. Our Companions Community Cat Programs offers a Trap Training Program that provides our clients with training, equipment, and volunteer support to safely TNR cats in their care. Our Companions also provides warm cat shelters, food donations and veterinary services. Please be sure to contact our Helpline at 860-242-9999 or email [email protected] for more information and to get started!

Once neutered/spayed, vaccinated, and returned to their initial habitat, and now considered a managed colony, you can continue to care for these community cats by building an inexpensive shelter and providing food. There are many ways to build weatherproof, insulated outdoor shelters for community cats for them to stay warm and keep dry from the various seasons. You can reference these instructions on how to build a tub or styrofoam shelter! Bedding product will need to be dried up and loose, so cats can burrow into it. Straw is finest, but you are able to use wood chips.  Do not use hay, newspaper, blankets, or other linens since it is susceptible to mold. Dew and humidity in the air make them damp even inside a barn or shed. 

You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”, but it certainly takes a community to care for community cats! We appreciate and send our gratitude to all the wonderful community cat caretakers out there providing for these fantastic felines!