Outdoor Cats

Outdoor cats


Outdoor cats that are free-roaming (whether socialized to people or not) are considered “Community Cats.” These cats sometimes live in groups called colonies and choose their territories because they have a food source and shelter there. They repay the favor of this beneficial set-up by keeping additional cats from moving into the neighborhood as well as controlling rodent populations for their human neighbors.

These cats do not have to be brought into the shelter to be rehomed, they already have a home! They are perfectly happy living in their colonies and neighborhoods. If a cat is healthy, it has found food and shelter and will be able to continue to thrive on its own. Plus, although some Community Cats may tolerate human contact, most would not be happy in a traditional home setting.

Instead, free-roaming cats and the neighborhoods they live in benefit when they are sterilized, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and returned to their neighborhoods.


What is Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR)?

Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) is a program in which outdoor cats are humanely trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and then returned to their outdoor homes. TNVR has been shown to be the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing the population of outdoor cats. Learn more by visiting our TNVR page.

How does Peggy Adams help cats found outdoors?

When outdoor cats are brought to Peggy Adams, we consider each one on a case-by-case basis. Because every situation is unique, we learn more about every cat and its circumstances by having a conversation with the finder. We base our approach to cats and kittens found outdoors on the latest science and research.  For example, "lost cats are 10-50 times more likely to be reunited with their owners if they stay in the neighborhood of origin than through an animal shelter" (information provided by: NACA.net). Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League advocates for the concept of “Return To Home”, which encompasses all animals being returned directly to their owners, and both pet cats and community cats being returned to the neighborhoods they were thriving in!  

Found adult cats?
  • When brought to Peggy Adams, adult cats are evaluated for body condition and health to determine if they are thriving.
  • If the cat is healthy, we will sterilize, vaccinate and return it to its outdoor home.
  • Generally, if the cat is not healthy, or has been abandoned, we will accept the cat, rehabilitate it, and place it for adoption.
  • If the cat is returned and it starts to visibly decline in health, we ask the finder to let us know so we can take the cat in.
Found kittens?
  • Kittens are also evaluated for body condition and health.
  • Generally, we will admit kittens for our adoption program if they are social with people.
  • If a kitten is outside its socialization period but is healthy, we will sterilize, vaccinate and return it to its outdoor home.
  • The best place for kittens younger than eight weeks old is with their mother, if possible. Learn more by visiting our Found Kittens Resources Page.

If you have a question about an outdoor cat or kitten, please let us know by contacting us!


Cat Deterrents

Quick Solutions

  • Apply cat repellent fragrances liberally around the edges of the yard, the tops of fences, and on any favorite digging areas or plants.
  • Install an ultrasonic animal repellent or a motion- activated water sprinkler, such as the CatStop™ or ScareCrow™. 
  • Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances. Coffee grounds, vinegar, pipe tobacco, or oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus also deter cats.
  • Plant the herb rue to repel cats, or sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
  • Use plastic carpet runners spike-side up, covered lightly in soil. They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores. Or, set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
  • Artfully arrange branches in a lattice-type pattern or wooden or plastic lattice fencing material over soil. You can disguise these by planting flowers and seeds in the openings. You can also try embedding wooden chopsticks, pinecones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed eight inches apart. 
  • Obtain Cat Scat™, a nonchemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that are cut into smaller pieces and pressed into the soil. Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourage digging. Available at gardeners.com.  
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large, attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging. (They have the added benefit of deterring weeds.)
  • Establish a litter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard. Keep it clean and free of deposits.  


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