Stray & Feral Cats
Pet cats are socialized to interact with humans and currently owned. Owned cats are allowed to free-roam within the City and we cannot respond to calls about loose cats.
We strongly recommend that owned cats be spayed or neutered. Especially if they are outdoors. Contact River City Cat Rescue or the Sacramento Area Animal Coalition to request a free voucher. See our Resources and Information page for more resources.
A stray cat is not afraid of humans and was probably a pet at one time. It may have been abandoned or lost . Strays and Free-roaming pets can be VERY difficult to tell apart.
Feral cats are unsocialized and afraid of people. They live much like wild animals and many of them were born into this lifestyle. Feral cats can not be adopted and would not make good pets. TNR programs are the best way to control the feral cat population and provide them with the best quality of life possible.
Trap-Neuter-Release/Return aka: TNR
The primary goal of TNR programs is to reduce the free-roaming cat population and improve public health by providing vaccinations and surgeries to free-roaming cats. TNR also reduces over-crowding in shelters and euthanasia of healthy cats.
- Proven effective control of the feral or community cat population
- Reduction in nuisance behaviors such as spraying, yowling and fighting
- Public health benefits from vaccinations administered during capture
- Less roaming when the urge to find a mate is eliminated
- Cats minimize rodent and nuisance wildlife populations
- Fewer cats over time due to inability to reproduce
Why not Relocate?
Relocation is difficult to coordinate and execute, animals often don't stay in their new location, and removal of the colony leaves a void that is often filled by the arrival of a new colony. In short, relocation of animals usually fails and we do NOT relocate community cats or other wildlife.
DEALING WITH PROBLEM CATS
Start by talking to your cat-owning neighbors about your frustrations and concerns then give them time to resolve the problem. For tips on how to talk to your neighbors read Neighborhood Toolbox (PDF).
Deterrents and Tips
- Scatter orange or lemon peels or spray with a citrus-scented spray; cats generally dislike citrus
- Mix water and vinegar to spray at the base of trees and plants around your house
- Use cat repellent (available at pet supply stores) around the yard, on top of fences, around any favorite plants and on any favorite digging spots
- Scatter pipe tobacco or coffee grounds in the area - cats dislike the smell
- Try growing Rue or scattering dried Rue - cats dislike the smell
- Soak strips of old towel or rag in perfume or cologne and keep near target plants.
- Place moth balls around the yard
- Keep garbage cans tightly covered to control rodents which may be attracting feral cats
- Cover your child's sandbox
- Push chopsticks or plant stakes into flower beds every 8 inches to discourage digging
- Use motion-activated sprinklers
- Make the yard uncomfortable for cats to use - build a rock garden
- Try an ultrasonic animal repellent - available at lawn and garden stores