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Cats roam outside in most neighborhoods in the United States. Some are pets whose owners let (or put) them outside, but many are community cats, who may be feral or one-time pets who are now stray, lost or abandoned. The more we understand outdoor cats and the complicated issues related to them, the...

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Cats are more than just internet stars; they bring joy and companionship to millions of people.

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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

Understand how you can help outdoor cats If you've encountered a cat outdoors, you've probably wondered whom the cat belonged to or if they even had an owner. Outdoor cats are sometimes owned cats whose owner lets them out. Often, however, they are community cats—ferals or strays. You can help these...

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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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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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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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Portrait of a pretty cat outside with a tipped ear

Loree O’Hagan’s new home in Great Cacapon, West Virginia, came with four bedrooms, a wrap-around deck, a view of the mountains—and a family of feral cats. That last detail wasn’t mentioned in the seller’s disclosure report, but O’Hagan and her husband got an inkling on moving day, when they spotted...

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by Julie Falconer

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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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)

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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Orange cat lounging in a garden

Most of the time, Tux is a good-natured, well-behaved cat, content with his indoor- only lifestyle. But whenever he looks out a window and spies a strange cat in his yard, a different side emerges. He races in circles, yowling his displeasure. He mangles window blinds and sometimes attacks his...

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Danielle Bays

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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With a mission to protect all animals, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) stands on common ground with those who care about both cats and wildlife. With determination, innovation and collaboration, we can implement and sustain effective programs to humanely resolve human-cat-wildlife...

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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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Cat walking on tree limb within a safe catio enclosure

Every now and then, on nice days, Krista Rakovan would let her cats onto the back deck for some supervised sunbathing. She watched how much Julius, Ginger and Kobe loved lying in the sun—the only time they were permitted outside—and she thought about how she could add more variety to their lives. “I...

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By Catherine Hess