For most of history, cats have lived outdoors; kitty litter wasn’t invented until 1947!
HSHV provides a host of programs and services for community cats.

Community Cat Program Success

Community cat Sully

Barn Cat Adoption

Some cats who end up at HSHV cannot adapt to indoor living. They may be ...
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Tippy Cat outdoor calico cat

Additional Resources for Helping Feral Cats

Want more information on community and feral cats? We can help! Additional Resources for ...
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cat in humane trap as part of TNR program

Community Cat Management Training

We need your help! For most of history, cats have lived out doors. Today, ...
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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, 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 CatStray Cat
Silent except when mating and may hissMeows
Only seen at dawn and dusk to huntSeen at all times of the day and night
Will eat food only after humans have retreated from the feeding areaWill eat near humans
Can never be touchedMay be touched or held at times or may rub against legs
If cornered, will hiss, spit or fightIf cornered, will try to hide
May look clean and healthy because they have adapted to living outsideMay 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 processThey may or may not be fixed
No collar or microchipMight have a collar

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.

If you or someone you know is feeding feral cats in our community, we would like to talk to you. The goal of any community cat management program is to maximize the quality of life for these cats, to eliminate the existing colony over time through attrition, and to elevate the worth of community cats, and cats in general, through education and awareness. Please email or call (734) 661-3523 to speak with our Community Cats Coordinator.

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

Help monitor Community Cats in Washtenaw County

You can help HSHV track and monitor feral cat colonies in Washtenaw County. None of your personal information will be shared and we do not publish specific addresses. 

Feral Cat Colonies