Community Cats

Helping Cats in Our Community!

Lakes Animal Friendship Society participated in a new and innovative partnership with the BC SPCA and the Burns Lake Veterinary Clinic.

We tackled the issue of cat overpopulation in “community cat” colonies around the Burns Lake area. These colonies arise when abandoned, lost or even owned cats that are not spayed or neutered continually multiply. Most of these cats live very short and brutal lives, and our project aims to break that cycle. We hope the project will provide a model for other communities!

LAFS volunteers have worked with the superheroes at the Burns Lake Veterinary Clinic, Vet-to-Pet Mobile Vet, and Bulkley River Veterinary Services to help hundreds of community cats to date. This effort to Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) cats has improved the lives of hundreds of cats and has helped make the community a better place for all.

Community Cat Q&A

The more we understand about community cats, the better we can help them!

What is a community cat?

Community cats are all around – in backyards, streets, fields, and vacant lots! Community cats don’t have an owner; they depend on the community to care for them. They live outside in groups called colonies and usually stay in an area where they can find food and shelter. Community cats can be shy or friendly, and some enjoy being near people while others would rather run and hide. No matter what, we have a responsibility to be kind and care for them. Without our help, they will suffer.

Why are there so many community cats?

It can start with just one abandoned female kitten. Did you know that kittens can have kittens? When a kitten is four months old, she can get pregnant, and she can have a litter of about six kit­tens. There can be two or three litters a year! Before long, there are dozens of cats.

How can we help community cats?

We can help make sure that all the cats are spayed or neutered so they can’t make more kittens. This also keeps them happier and healthier. Community cats are safely trapped and brought to the vet. After they are spayed or neutered and vaccinated, they can go back to their colony. We call this “TNR” (trap-neuter-return). The vet makes a little snip to the tip of each cat’s left ear. If we see a cat with an “ear tip” we know they have been to the vet!

Shouldn’t all community cats be adopted?

It would be great for every cat to have a loving home indoors with a family. If we find a lost cat with a collar or a microchip, we try to get them home. If there are cats or kittens who enjoy being around people, sometimes they can be adopted. But some cats feel most at home outside with their cat family, not a human family. Every cat has a different story and needs our help in different ways!

Is there anything else we can do?

We can be caregivers to community cat colonies. We call ourselves caregivers, because we give the cats the care that they need. It isn’t easy living outdoors, with cars and coyotes and other hazards. But community cats can have a good life if we provide them with food, water, shelter, and vet care. We can also take great care of our own cats. We can make sure they are spayed and neutered. We can keep them indoors where it is safe, and give them identification in case they get lost. Food, wa­ter, love, and regular visits to the vet will keep our furry family members happy and healthy.

If we all work together, someday every cat will have a loving home.

Community Cats in snow