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Cats bring joy and companionship to millions of people. Here's how you can take care of them.

Animal

Contents What is a community cat? Where do community cats live? Who takes care of community cats? Why are there so many cats outdoors? What is TNR? Why do some people consider outdoor cats a nuisance? How does TNR solve common complaints about outdoor cats? Isn't living outside dangerous for cats...

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Cats lack the facial expressiveness of dogs, they’re generally quieter and their behaviors can be harder to interpret—but this doesn’t mean that the feline mystique is impenetrable. You can better understand your furry friend by paying attention to their vocalizations, body postures and daily...

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Illustration of a busy family home with a relaxed cat in the foreground

No bills, no responsibilities, endless hours spent batting toys beneath the furniture, napping in soft sherpa beds and watching birds flit around the feeder outside the living room window. From a human perspective, the life of a pampered house cat looks pretty sweet. So it can be startling to learn...

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By Julie Falconer

There are millions of outdoor cats in America; some are pets allowed outside by their owners, but most outdoor cats are what we call community cats—friendly strays and feral felines who are fearful of people and not suited to life indoors. These cats are supported by millions of compassionate people...

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Scratching is a normal, instinctive cat behavior. Cats have a need to scratch. They do it to express emotions, like excitement or stress, to mark objects with their scent (they have scent glands in their paws), to remove the dead part of their nails and, often, just to get a good stretch. It’s also...

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BY MATT WILDMAN, CAT BEHAVIORIST

MUNCIE, Indiana—The Humane Society of the United States is assisting the Muncie Police Department in rescuing dozens of cats in an alleged severe neglect situation in Muncie, Indiana. The Indiana State Board of Health and Muncie Animal Services also provided assistance on-scene. Local authorities...

Press Release
Cat looking concerned and possibly over-stimulated from petting

One moment, you’re stroking a sweetly purring cat, and the next you feel fangs or claws digging into the flesh of your palm. What just happened? It’s a question that certified cat behavior consultant Tabitha Kucera hears a lot, and the answer often boils down to overarousal, also called...

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By Marissa Russo

Contents Intro Owned cats Unowned cats Cats in shelters Cats and wildlife Collaboration/humane communities Conclusion Intro Cats are the most popular companion animal in the U.S., with more than 86 million of them living in nearly 39 million American households. Tens of millions more unowned cats...

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STEP ONE: ASK AROUND First, check whether the cat has an ear-tip, which is when the very top of one ear has been (painlessly) clipped to be flat instead of pointed. It’s the badge of a community cat, indicating the cat has been through a trap-neuter-return program and has an outdoor home. No ear-tip...

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Many people assume that coyotes don't live in suburban or urban neighborhoods because they don't see them. But that assumption can be dangerous for your animal companions. Coyotes typically hunt small mammals such as mice, voles and rabbits. If given the opportunity, they will also make a meal of a...

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Wild Neighbors (Adapted from the book)

An excellent way for you to keep tabs on your cat's health between vet visits is a regular seven-step nose-to-tail check-up. Learn how now.

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You may think that cats have to go outside to be happy. But cats would disagree with you (and so would local birds!) Actually, close to two-thirds of owned cats live indoors either exclusively or for a majority of the time. Cats can live a happy and healthy life indoors with their families. Allowing...

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Shelter, food, and water are especially important to outdoor cats--feral and stray--in the cold of winter. Follow our advice on building the best kind of shelter and keeping food and water from freezing. Also, to TNR or not to TNR? We'll answer that question.

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Feral cats sitting together by a food bowl

Beth McNulty was used to seeing the occasional cat cross her property. In her rural community in Monrovia, Maryland, some of her neighbors let their pet cats roam free. And from time to time, a stray would show up and take shelter in her backyard shed. Over the years, she’d adopted two of these...

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Julie Falconer

Organizations can play a huge role in the lives of community cats Whether you are a large shelter, a private nonprofit, a municipal agency or a small volunteer rescue, there are ways to help your area’s outdoor cats, whether they are community cats (feral and stray) or cats whose owners allow them...

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Government officials and lawmakers: Use policy to change the lives of community cats Have you been hearing from citizens who don’t want cats on their property? Are you looking for a way to modify ordinances so that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs are allowed? You're not alone. More and more...

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Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, The HSUS and the HSLF applaud U.S. Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) for introducing the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818). The bill would advance animal welfare and protect...

Press Release
Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, The Humane Society Legislative Fund,The Humane Society of the United States, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Although community cats are resourceful and instinctively seek out safe places in times of danger, extreme weather may pose a threat to them. If you take care of a colony of cats, take heart! There are many things you can do to increase their chances of coming through the storm safe and sound. What...

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When we think of “aggression,” we may think of a variety of motivations and impulses deriving from our own experience as humans. Fortunately, aggression in cats is easier to make sense of and typically derives from two impulses: fear and mistrust. These are the most likely scenarios to cause fear...

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BY MATT WILDMAN, CAT BEHAVIORIST