Community cats - sometimes referred to as "feral" cats - are free-roaming cats without an owner. They may or may not be social with humans, but they are often well-adapted to their surroundings and either find a food source or have one provided for them. Check with neighbors to find out if the cats are being managed by someone, or if they are owned cats who are permitted to roam outdoors.
The cornerstone of managing community cats is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR is the only long-term strategy for humanely controlling the free-roaming cat population. Without spay and neuter as population control, cat colonies multiply quickly.
Shelter impoundment and euthanasia is not a viable solution. Because of the territorial nature of felines, when cats are removed from an area, un-neutered cats from nearby neighborhoods will move into this new, unclaimed territory and take over the food source.
A growing number of cities support the concept of TNR within their communities to save lives and money and effectively control the growth of community cat populations. Results from a two-year study (link) found trap-neuter-return (TNR), an alternative to shelter impoundment, improves cat welfare and reduces the size of cat colonies. There are organizations in most areas dedicated to helping community members humanely trap community cats for spay/neuter surgery and vaccination and then return them to their managed colony locations.
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