ACCT Philly Community Cat Program

**UPDATE**

Did you know ACCT Philly has a Community Cat Program (CCP)?  It is utilized to prevent births of kittens, reduce shelter euthanasia, and find homes for cats.  We do this in several ways such as offering surgeries for “TNR” (Trap-Neuter-Return) cats that are either feral or live outdoors, recruiting, training, and supporting foster homes for orphaned litters of kittens, and identifying cats within the shelter that are candidates to be neutered and returned to their neighborhood.

ACCT Philly is dedicated to doing our part to save these cats’ lives. We have a number of exciting things happening with our CCP:

  • ACCT Philly has obtained a grant and launched a Community Cat spay and neuter voucher program.  The funds from this generous grant from PetSmart Charities will provide 2,000 spay or neuter surgeries and rabies vaccines to Philadelphia cats and allow caretakers to choose from six different clinic locations to obtain free services.
  • An additional $20,000 was granted to ACCT Philly in early May by Best Friends Animal Society to help fund our kitten nursery, which provides care and feeding for orphaned kittens in the shelter.
  • In early May 2018, ACCT Philly implemented the MilkMan Project, which provides supplies and training to Philadelphians who want to help join the cause.  Occasionally, orphaned litters of kittens are brought into the shelter too late in the evening for our staff to adequately recruit a foster home to care for them.  The MilkMan Project allows us to provide supplies and training to good Samaritans who find orphaned neonatal kittens, who need to be fed every two hours to prevent dehydration and starvation, so that they can be kept safe and healthy until a foster home can be found.  With as little as a 12 hour commitment, community members can save kittens’ lives!  So far, this project has saved almost 10 litters of kittens from euthanasia to prevent them from suffering.
  • Our CCP has one full time coordinator, one part time position to oversee the voucher program, and previously had an additional full time coordinator that was grant funded.  While the grant funded coordinator does not currently have funding past the summer season, we are utilizing remaining grant funds to hire three part time trappers through the summer to focus on areas of high intake of stray cats.  These Trapping Specialists will be working with the community to neuter as many cats as possible to help continue the downward trend of stray cats entering the shelter. We are in the process of securing long-term funding for this coordinator position to continue our work long-term. Additionally, beginning this summer and moving into the fall, we’ll be partnering with a local cat- focused organization to expand our abilities to have an impact on cat populations in Philadelphia.  So far in 2018, we have seen 326 fewer stray cats brought to the shelter by citizens, a tremendous accomplishment due in large part to our community members who are working incredibly hard to save lives.

These programs, combined with our feline foster and adoption program as well as our numerous feline-friendly transfer partners, have propelled us to an 87 percent lifesaving rate for the first four months of 2018.  Together, we can continue the mission and reach our goal of 90 percent.  If you’re interested in being part of any of our feline programs please contact us today, and stay tuned as there are more exciting events on the horizon for ACCT Philly’s feline lovers!

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ACCT Philly is proud to work with citizens, volunteers, and TNR groups to help control the community cat population through spay and neuter.  Cats in the ACCT Philly Community Cat Program receive spay or neuter surgery, left ear tip*, vaccines, wellness exam, and food is during their stay. *A left ear tip, indicates a cat has been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

Intake Process for Trapped Cats

Drop off free-roaming cats. 
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
(You can drop-off in a humane trap or carrier. You cannot pick-up if the cat was brought in a carrier, our officers will release the cat for you.)

If you want to leave your trap at the shelter:  when you bring in a stray cat that is confined in a personal humane trap (not a plastic cat carrier), the cat will stay in your trap while enrolled in the community cat program. You will have 24 hours to pick up the cat. If you fail to pick up within 24 hours, ACCT Philly Animal Control Officers will release the cat to the found location you reported during intake.

If you do NOT want to leave your trap: If you have trapped a cat but would like to bring your trap home after dropping off the cat, ACCT Philly animal control officers will release the cat to the found location you reported during intake after the cat recovers from surgery.

Need trapping assistance?

Did you know that ACCT Philly offers loans of humane cat traps? These are used to safely trap stray and feral cats that are in need of spay or neuter services. We provide the traps, trap covers, and instructions on how to operate the traps. All cats will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear tipped (this helps signify that the cat has already been spayed or neutered!). Cats can be dropped off for surgery 7 days per week! Interested in getting started? Please fill out our request form.

Caretakers / Colony Managers:

Are you taking care of the stray and feral cats in your area? We are working on creating a database of all colony caretakers, trappers, transporters, and feeders in Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia is estimated to have around 60,000 free-roaming cats; this database will allow us to quickly help cats in need of TNR. Our goal is to connect people who are helping out either the same cats, or cats in the same area, to help streamline the TNR processes. To assist us in this process, please fill out our Caretaker form here.

If you need trapping assistance, please contact us at communitycats@acctphilly.org.

Interested in learning more? Please check out our informational packet for all things Community Cats here!

Volunteer
We are also looking for volunteers to help with caretaking, trapping and transporting cats for spay/neuter surgery. Email communitycats@acctphilly.org to learn more.

Stay Up to Date

Join our Community Cats Program email list to be informed of important program changes, upcoming events, and more!

Community Cats Program mailing list

General Information about Community Cats

What is a Community Cat?

If you’ve spent time in the city of Philadelphia, you’ve more than likely seen a cat outdoors. Cats who spend most of their time outside are referred to as “Community Cats” or “Free-Roaming Cats”. These blanket terms refer to indoor/outdoor pet cats, abandoned stray cats who have adapted to the outdoors, and feral cats who have had no human contact. They may have vastly different personalities but they are all referred to as community cats, and all cats who will be outdoors, even for just a short period of time, need to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

The best thing we can offer free-roaming cats is TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). TNR is the process of humanely trapping and transporting community cats for spay/neuter surgery and then returning them to their outdoor home.

Why TNR (trap-neuter-return)?

TNR  is the only proven humane way to reduce the number of the cats who live outside. Once cats are spayed or neutered, they cannot reproduce and contribute to the cat population. TNR will also drastically reduce nuisance behaviors, such as spraying, caterwauling, and roaming out in traffic-ridden streets.

Without TNR, community cats’ lives are at risk! A high intake animal shelter such as ACCT Philly simply does not have the capacity to find adopters for the thousands of cats who are found to be living outdoors. Many cats who live outside have not been socialized to live indoors with humans, and are better suited to life in the urban wild.

Useful Resources

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter & TNR Assistance Programs for Community Cats
Spayed Club Clinic
484-540-8436 | info@thespayedclub.org

PSPCA Clinic
215-426-6300 | info@pspca.org

PAWS Clinic Grays Ferry Ave
215-298-9680 | gfclinic@phillypaws.org

PAWS Clinic Grant Ave
215-545-9600 | neclinic@phillypaws.org

Project M.E.O.W. TNR Assistance in West Philadelphia
www.projectmeow.org | projectmeow.rfa@gmail.com

Temple Cats TNR Assistance around Temple’s Main Campus
267-579-2287 | Join their Facebook group “Temple Cats”

South Philly TNR Assistance
Join their Facebook Group “South Philly TNR”

Forgotten Cats Low-Cost Clinic and TNR Assistance
215-219-8148 | 302-429-0124 | www.forgottencats.org

Community Cat Caretaker / Colony Manager Resources
A colony manager, or caretaker, is an advocate who is dedicated to maintaining a clean area for community cats, providing food, water, and shelter. Ideally, a colony manager will live on the block they are feeding on.

Having a dedicated Colony Manager on your block will drastically reduce cats digging through trash cans, using gardens as litter boxes, fighting loudly, roaming out of alleyways, giving birth to kittens outside, and reduce the overall number of cats living outside.

Colony Managers and community members can help reduce nuisance complaints together by having peaceful communication about any issues with cats on their block and helping each other implement the proper tools needed to resolve complaints.

If you are a Colony Manager / Caretaker or are interested in becoming one, please contact the ACCT Philly Community Cat Coordinator for more information and resources on helping manage a colony of free-roaming cats on your block:

215-385-3800 ext. 103 I communitycats@acctphilly.org

How you can create a nuisance free colony on your block

Set up a feeding station
Please, feed cats at the same location every time, preferably on your own property. Place a large Rubbermaid container on its side, place food and water bowls inside. This will help reduce cats ripping through garbage bags and roaming out in the streets looking for food.

Set up a feeding schedule
Feed the cats at the same time; once or twice every day. Clean up any leftovers within 60 minutes. This will help reduce other wildlife to enter the colony. This also creates a pattern for the cats and they will benefit from a routine.

Outdoor cats can have litter boxes, too
Build a litter box with wood frames, add sand or peat moss, please do not use actual cat litter, which is for indoor use only. Having an outdoor litter box will help reduce cats using lawns or gardens. Place this outdoor litter box in a strategic area, away from neighbors who do not want cats on their property. Be sure to keep these litter boxes and areas clean and change out the contents regularly.

Humane Deterrents
Physical Barriers

  • Cover and tightly secure trash can lids with bungee cords.
  • Physically block or seal locations that cats are entering with chicken wire or lattice.
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large river rocks to keep cats from digging.
  • Purchase a Cat Scat™ mat to keep cats from digging.
  • Arrange branches in lattice-type patterns or use actual lattice fencing material over soil, this discourages digging.
  • Purchase a car cover if cats are walking on your vehicle.
  • Use plastic car carpet, spiked-side up and covered lightly in soil, in gardens, flower beds, and other landscaping.

Electronic and Battery Operated Deterrents

  • Hoont™ Motion Activated Electronic Animal Repeller
  • CatStop™ Ultrasonic deterrent
  • Scarecrow™Motion Activated Sprinkler

*You can purchase these deterrents at a hardware store or www.amazon.com.

Scent Deterrents
To keep cats away from gardens, flower beds, or specific areas of property, scatter fragrant items that don’t appeal to a cat’s sense of smell.

  • Fresh orange or lemon peels.
  • Organic citrus-scented sprays.
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds, vinegar, or pipe tobacco, oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus.
    in gardens or landscaping

Killing and relocating will not reduce the outdoor cat population.

Historically, cats are a part of wildlife, they were not brought indoors until the 1950s. Because of their history, all cats are born with an instinct to survive outside, and have adapted quite well to life in the city, where food, water, and shelter are abundant.

Not only can cats survive without human help, they have also been extremely successful reproducing in the city. Cat overpopulation is a community issue, and it is our responsibility to make sure that our tiny friends are spayed, neutered, and returned to their outdoor homes.

If cats are permanently removed from a location, the area will suffer from what is called “The Vacuum Effect” which a new colony of cats will infiltrate the unoccupied area, regardless of whether the cats are being fed by someone. By implementing TNR in Philadelphia, the outdoor cat population will eventually decrease; although this takes time and a great deal of help from people who live in the community!

Harming community cats is a crime!
To report animal cruelty, neglect or abuse contact:
Pennsylvania SPCA Cruelty Hotline
866-601-7722
cruely@pspca.org