Outdoor Cats in Our Community

Who are our outdoor cats?

Learn some brief facts about outdoor cats and how to keep them safe with trap, neuter, (vaccinate) and return (TNR) from a trusted resource: Alley Cat Allies.

Outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years

They are not a new phenomenon. Feral and stray cats live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland.

Feral cats are not socialized to people

And therefore, they are not adoptable. Feral cats don’t belong indoors and are typically wary of us. However, as members of the domestic cat species (just like pet cats), they are protected under state anti-cruelty laws.

See also: Who is a feral cat

Feral cats should not be taken to pounds and shelters

Feral cats’ needs are not met by the current animal control and shelter system, where animals who are not adoptable are killed. Feral cats live full, healthy lives outdoors—but are killed in shelters. Even no-kill shelters can’t place feral cats in homes.

Feral kittens can be adopted

Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at an early age. There is a crucial window, and if they aren’t handled in time, they will remain feral and therefore unadoptable.

Feral cats live healthy lives in their outdoor homes

Feral cats are just as healthy as pet cats—with equally low rates of disease. They have the same lifespans, too.

People are the cause of wildlife depletion

Studies show that the overwhelming causes of wildlife and bird death are habitat loss, urbanization, pollution, and environmental degradation—all caused by humans, not feral cats.

NOTE: more information about Cats and Wildlife from Alley Cat.

Catch and kill doesn’t work

Animal control’s traditional approach for feral cats— catching and killing—is endless and cruel. Cats choose to reside in locations for two reasons: there is a food source (intended or not) and shelter. When cats are removed from a location, new cats move in or survivors breed to capacity. This vacuum-effect is well-documented.

TNVR: Humane Solution to Cat Overpopulation

Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return does work

Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) benefits the cats and the community. Cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped (the universal symbol of a neutered and vaccinated cat), and then returned to their outdoor home. The colony’s population stabilizes—no more kittens! Trap- Neuter-Vaccinate-Return improves their lives and improves their relations with the community—the behaviors and stresses associated with mating stop. Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return is the humane, effective approach for feral cats.

You can make a difference and save lives

Together, we can educate people about feral cats and the fact that they don’t belong in pounds and shelters and spread the word that TNR is the humane approach for them.

Who supports TNVR in New Jersey and the science behind it.

Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return is the only method proven to be humane and effective for controlling community cat population growth. CPAW NJ urges you to visit Project TNR, a project of the Animal Protection League of NJ, for an enormous amount of NJ specific TNR information.

TNVR is the only method proven to be humane and effective for controlling feral cat population growth. Using this technique, all cats in a colony are trapped, neutered and vaccinated. Feral cats are then returned to their territory where caregivers provide them with regular food and shelter. Young kittens who can still be socialized, as well as friendly adults, are placed in foster care and eventually adopted out to good homes.

TNVR has many advantages. It immediately stabilizes the size of the colony by eliminating new litters. The nuisance behavior often associated with feral cats is dramatically reduced including the yowling and fighting that come with mating activity and the odor of unneutered males spraying to mark their territory. Particularly in urban areas, the cats continue to provide natural rodent control.

Project TNR can provide more information, as well as documentation, on request.

TNVR has been endorsed by many respected bodies, including: The National Animal Control Association, The Humane Society of the United States, The ASPCA, The American Association of Feline Practitioners, The American Animal Hospital Association, The Association of Shelter Veterinarians, Alley Cat Allies, PetSmart Charities, Best Friends Animal Society and hundreds of state, regional, and local government agencies and animal welfare organizations all around the country. Notable examples include: NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, NJ Governor’s Task Force on Animal Welfare, Governor Jon Corzine’s Environmental Policy Transition Team, The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, and the Richmond, VA SPCA.


There are many wonderful organizations with information about both companion animals and outdoor cats in our community and how we can live humanely together:

Alley Cat Allies, Animal Protection League of New Jersey Project TNR, ASPCA, Best Friends, Humane Society of the United States Neighborhood Cats, NYC Feral Cat Initiative

What can I do about the cats in my yard?

According to the HSUS, there are many ways you can help these cats that can really make a difference. See full excerpt
Helpful summary of FAQs about Outdoor Cats

Community cats who have been TNVR are a great addition to a back yard

Community cats can be considered as working cats. Why? Because they help get rid of rodents, mice and rats, which are in your yard and will get in your garbage, garage, sheds and sometimes your house. In Chicago which has been plagued by an explosion of the rat population there is a 3 months waiting list for community cats.

Having a colony of community cats in your back yard is a win-win for you and for them. You give them food and water and provide them with a shelter and in exchange they will be the guardians of your yard. And no not all the neighborhood cats will end up on your property. Cats are very territorial and will keep away other cats from staying on their turf.

Easy Solutions to cat behaviors


Here’s a fun wiki presentation on repelling both indoor cats from couches and out door cats from your yard.
And back to good common sense from Alley Cat Allies…
https://www.alleycat.org/resources/how-to-live-with-cats-in-your-neighborhood/ the details on deterrent are shown below:

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter