NOTICE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Community Cat Program has been suspended until further notice.
What is a community cat?
A community cat is any cat that lives outdoors and who does not have a particular home or owner. Some community cats are friendly and socialized, while some are not. Community cats usually depend on humans for food sources such as a caretaker, a dumpster, or other sources.
What is community cat diversion?
In community cat diversion, we are using the humane method of Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return (TNVR) to control our community cat population. TNVR reduces community-related nuisances that “trap and remove” (through relocation, adoption, or euthanasia) does not:
- It stabilizes the size of the colony by eliminating new litters and preventing new cats from moving in to fill the void.
- It greatly reduces nuisance behaviors associated with community cats such as mating-related vocalizing, fighting, and urinating behaviors.
- It increases community protection against rabies by ensuring the cats in the community are vaccinated.
- It reduces the number of cats that come into the local shelters, and thus it reduces overcrowding, illness, and euthanasia.
- Community cats serve as an organic pest control solution.
What can you do to help?
When you become aware of a stray or loose cat near your home or office, you can bring him/her in a humane trap to the shelter. Cats can be dropped off Tuesday mornings between 8:30 am – 9:30 am. At the shelter, the cat will be scanned for a microchip, medically evaluated, receive spay / neuter surgery, rabies vaccination, and ear tip within 24 – 48 hours. Shelter volunteers, caretakers, or the original finder will then return the cat to where it was found. Cats must be picked up Wednesdays before 1:00 pm unless otherwise specified by shelter staff. Requirements:
- 1 cat per household per day, please. This helps to ensure that the cats will receive care in a timely manner without overwhelming our staff and resources.
- Cats must weigh a minimum of 4 pounds to qualify for the program.
- Cats must be in a humane trap that is appropriately sized for the cat. This helps keep the cat safe and comfortable, and ensures the safety of our staff.
- If the cats are not in good health, Citrus County Animal Services holds the authority to make medical decisions for treatment or humane euthanasia if necessary (as a last resort).
What happens if you find a kitten (or 6)?!
While it may be tempting to scoop up any kittens that you see, try to resist!! Most kittens found outside have a mom that is away hunting for food for her family but will return shortly. Leave them unattended for 3-4 hours. If when you return the kittens are quiet, sleeping, and have big full bellies, you can be sure that mama has come back and fed them.
If the kittens appear sick, undernourished, or you have confirmed that mom has not returned within a 12-24 hour time period, they will require your help! Our Wait ‘til 8 program empowers YOU to be the savior of these kittens because we know that YOU would make an AMAZING FOSTER!
How does Wait ‘til 8 work?
- The shelter will provide you with all of the supplies and information needed to care for the kittens.
- The finder will return the kittens to the shelter every two weeks for their checkup and booster shots.
- When the kittens have reached 8 weeks of age, they are ready to be adopted! They will return to the shelter for spay/neuter surgery and will then be able to move onto their new homes (unless you want to adopt them yourself, because who can resist?!).
For more information on community cat management and Wait ‘til 8, please visit the following organizations:
Best Friends Animal Society:
Alley Cat Allies: