What is a Feral Cat?

A feral cat is an unsocialized cat.

Either it was born outside and never lived with humans, or it is a house cat that has strayed from home and over time reverted to its wild state. In most cases, they do not like to be held or pet, therefore feral cats are not considered adoptable animals.

One breeding pair of unsterilized feral cats over a few years can lead to thousands more. Overpopulation results in easy spread of disease and fleas, lack of resources for them, more incidents of wildlife killed by cats, and an increase in nuisance mating behaviors.

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What is Trap - Neuter - Return (TNR)?


The TNR program involves humanely trapping, spaying or neutering, ear-tipping (the universal sign a cat has been vaccinated and sterilized), and vaccinating feral cats and then returning them to their outdoor homes. TNR is extremely effective and saves cats’ lives.

Why does TNR work?

  • The number of feral cats decline

  • The annoying behaviors of mating cats, such as yowling, fighting, and spraying are greatly reduced.

  • The cats are vaccinated against disease. This helps to prevent the spread of disease, helping both the cats and the community at large.

  • The cats continue to provide natural rodent control in the community.

To address the feral cat population, the TONH has a free TNR program for residents. In conjunction with a non profit group, traps are lent to residents who bring cats in on a designated date to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and ear-tipped. Residents pick up the cat(s) after surgery and return them to their original outdoor homes after holding them for a small recuperation period.
The TONH has a contract with a trapper for
people who are unable to trap themselves.

Trapping and removing feral cats does not work.

New cats will move in to take advantage of existing resources and the cycle will begin again.

The Town of North Hempstead (TONH) is here to help!

If you need assistance with feral cats in your neighborhood, please call 516-869-6311 and fill out a service request.
Someone from the Feral Cat Program will contact you.