Can you relocate cats?

Relocating feral or community cats to a new outdoor location can take a long time and is often unsuccessful. Cats tend to be territorial; in familiar territory, they know where to get food, find shelter, and avoid danger. Moving outdoor cats to a new location makes them very uneasy, so they will try to get back to the place they know.

Removing outdoor cats can also create a vacuum effect, as the remaining food and resources attract other cats, and they continue to breed. Implementing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), on the other hand, prevents other cats from moving in, while decreasing the population and reducing nuisance behaviors.  

Relocating a cat or colony should be the last resort, after all other options have been made to keep them in their current outdoor home. HSHV does not offer relocation services.


How do I tell a feral cat from a stray cat?

To determine if a cat is simply a visiting community cat from the neighborhood or a lost or abandoned stray cat, monitor the cat for a few days. 

If the cat is clean and healthy, it is likely a community cat just visiting. You may notice that the cat already has an ear tip on its left ear, indicating it has been sterilized through a TNR program. If the cat is friendly, you can place a collar on the cat’s neck with a note asking the owners to notify you if this is their cat. This way, an owned cat does not mistakenly get taken to HSHV.  Community cats often have one or more caretakers feeding and looking out for them, and they may be friendly, unsocial, or feral. Always use caution when approaching any animal. If you notice a community cat in your area with no owner and no ear tip, see our TNR page to learn what you can do.

If, on the other hand, the cat starts to lose weight rapidly or looks increasingly disheveled, it is likely a lost or abandoned pet.  You may choose to bring the cat inside or to HSHV. In either scenario, signs should be posted in the neighborhood regarding a found cat, and a found report made to HSHV.


  Feral Cat   Stray Cat
  Silent except when mating and may hiss   Meows
  Only seen at dawn and dusk to hunt   Seen at all times of the day and night

  Will eat food only after humans have retreated from the
  feeding area

  Will eat near humans
  Can never be touched   May be touched or held at times or may rub against legs

  If cornered, will hiss, spit or fight

  If cornered will try to hide
  May look clean and healthy because they have adapted to  living outside   May look dirty and unkept because they do not live      their entire life outside
  May have an ear tip if they have already been    through the TNR process   They may or may not be fixed
  No collar or microchip   Might have a collar



Please contact our Community Cat Coordinator at (734) 661-3523 or email

about us | events | my account | volunteer login
wish list | press releases | site map | jobs at hshv | privacy policy | contact us

All images and photographs are courtesy of HSHV staff and Jeffrey E. Roush of Two Cat Studios.