To celebrate Global Cat Day, we've put together a few facts about community cats that you may not already know!
#1 Community cats are feral cats
Community cats are feral cats, who often live in cat colonies. They are domestic cats that were born and raised with little to no contact with people.
#2 Community cats play an important role
Community cats play an important role in our local ecosystem. Removing cats from their environment is not only harmful to the cats, but to the ecosystem as a whole.
#3 Often times, community cats do not do well in the shelter environment
Some community cats can be tamed, but this takes lots of time and effort and is more successful when they are kittens. For most cats, the shelter environment is terrifying. Community cats should not be treated as stray or free-roaming animals, as they are not lost or abandoned. Instead, they should be trapped, neutered and then returned to their environment.
LifeLine has also developed a barn cat program, so when a community cat does come into our shelter doors, they can be adopted out and provided safety, food and shelter.
#4 Community cats help control rodent populations
Contrary to popular belief, community cats are mainly scavengers, not hunters. Community cats often feed off of garbage and scraps. And when they do hunt, it is mostly rodents and other burrowing animals. Studies have shown that when cats are removed from the environment, rodent populations soar.
#5 Community cats have been living alongside humans for 10,000 years
Cats continue to be a natural part of our environment.
#6 TNR is a humane approach to controlling the community cat population
It's important to know that killing community cats does not effectively reduce their numbers. New cats will just take their place. Effective community cat programs include a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program, which aims to trap the cat(s), spay/neuter them and then return them to the same location. Such programs provide life-saving options for cats who might otherwise be euthanized. Additionally, overtime they reduce the population of community cat colonies. Learn more here!