What is a Community Cat?
Community cats live primarily outside and can be found almost anywhere. They may be feral and seek shelter under porches or in sewer openings, avoiding contact with people. They may be seen wandering around an industrial site or an abandoned building, interested in people but not approaching. They may be lounging on a sidewalk and purr when people approach or want to be petted when they aren’t hunting mice in the hay mow. Regardless of where they live, how social they are, or if they have a caretaker: they are referred to as community cats. Iowa Humane Alliance recognizes that community cats are a major concern and advocates for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the most effective and humane solution to control the population.
The Iowa Trap-Neuter-Return Resource and Assistance Program (I-TRAP)
Iowa Humane Alliance has worked with hundreds of citizens who are feeding and caring for colonies of free-roaming cats (community cats) on their farms and in their neighborhoods. We are committed to facilitating the work of those who care for these cats and to offer TNR resources to assist them with humanely controlling the population growth and to improving the health of the colonies they care for. We also promote community awareness of the responsible care and treatment of community cats, including those that are not likely to become house pets because of lack of socialization.
- Community cats are eligible for special pricing at the Iowa Humane Alliance Regional Spay/Neuter Clinic. Our Community Cat package includes spay or neuter surgery, a rabies vaccination and an ear tip (required) for only $35. A distemper/upper respiratory combo vaccination (FVRCP) can be added for $10.
- We also have a Last Litter package option for female cats and their entire litter of kittens.
- We work with partner organizations and funders to find ways to bring that cost even lower for large colonies of cats. We recognize the necessity of altering all cats in a colony in a short amount of time in order to end the population growth and will work with you to find ways to accomplish that goal.
- We provide equipment loans, including live-humane traps and cat carriers, to individuals and groups to assist them in humanely trapping the cats to bring them to the clinic.
- We offer training, counseling in responsible colony care giving, and workshops on humane trapping, and management of free-roaming cat colonies.
What is Trap-Neuter-Return?
Trap-Neuter-Return programs are a humane alternative to mass euthanasia of the free-roaming cats living in our environment and, when well-managed, are more effective at reducing the population.
While tame free-roaming cats may be handled, many free roaming cats are feral (wild) or semi-feral. Those cats that cannot be safely handled are humanely Trapped, Neutered, and Returned (TNR) to their outdoor homes. A caregiver provides shelter, food, water and overall monitoring of the cats, and because they are altered, the birth of unwanted kittens decreases. TNR has proven to be the most cost effective and humane method to decrease cat overpopulation in free-roaming cats. For more information on our free-roaming cat policies and how you can help the cats in your neighborhood, please see our TNR Instructions and Tips page.