The relationship between community cat colony caretakers and commercial residential complexes (in particular, apartments, condos and trailer parks) can be difficult if not managed properly.

The managers of community residences are in a tough situation – they get heat from people who don’t like having cats around, but they also know that upsetting colony caretakers can create angry residents and bad press for themselves.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that it helps significantly to keep community colonies “out of site and out of mind.” The less obvious your colony is, the easier it is for management to ignore it or even not notice it.

Helpful Suggestions

  • Be discreet! Feed in the least conspicuous places possible, and, use shelters that blend in with the environment
  • Be clean! Do not leave messes, like old paper plates, broken shelters, or other refuse from managing the colony in the open
  • Do not overfeed – only provide enough food for the cats and do not leave extra out; it also helps to take in uneaten food after cats have eaten
  • Know your local laws – In some jurisdictions it can be unlawful to possess, harbor, shelter, or keep more than 3 combined pets
  • Most importantly, TNR your kitties!
    • TNR – trap, neuter, vaccinate and return – prevent future colonies and get any socialized cats into a shelter to be adopted to indoor homes
      • This also helps new cats from coming into the area.
    • Spay / neuter reduces unwanted outward behavior in cats. They will be less likely to bother indoor cats and will be less destructive when they are not on a mission to mate.
    • Although rabies is extremely rare in community cats (no one in America has contracted a fatal case from a cat in decades), by having them go through a TNR program they will receive vaccinations


Dealing with Management

  • If management complains, schedule a meeting with property management, they respond best to community members who are calm, composed, professional, and pay bills on time.
    • If you know you are the kind of person who is easily excitable, bring someone who is good at staying calm in difficult situations.
  • Try to create a connection with the managers by respecting their point of view, even if you don’t agree with it and want to change their perspective
  • Ask direct questions to management about the cats. For example:
    • Who is complaining about the cats, and what are their concerns?
    • Is management planning on hiring a company to remove the cats?
    • Has management reached out to any animal advocacy groups to discuss how to handle this in a humane way?
    • Are you aware of the backlash the property can receive for harming cats?
    • Most importantly, what (short of removing the cats) can be done to address existing concerns?
  • Remind management of the benefits of community cats
    • Cats keep rodent populations under control that can cause expensive damage to electrical systems
    • Remind them that cats themselves are not meaningful spreaders of disease and can actually help prevent the spread of harmful diseases through rodent elimination
    • Most people love cats, and enjoy seeing them around

These techniques won’t always work, but they give you the best possible chance of creating a win win situation for you, your colony, and property managers. And you can always call our TNR line at 734-661-3523 for more ideas or assistance.