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Community Cats

Spay/Neuter Resources for Community Cats

For info on low cost spay and neuter clinics in Stanislaus County...

What is a community cat?

A community cat is an unowned cat that lives outdoors. They are also known as stray, feral, or alley cats. Community cats are generally not friendly and prefer to live their lives outdoors. Community cats are often found living with their feline families - called colonies. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane, effective approach to community cats.


In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped and then brought to a veterinarian for spay/neuter, vaccinations and an ear tip. After a short time for recovery, the cats are then released back to the location they were trapped in... their outdoor home. The ear tip lets us humans know that they have already been fixed so that we do not try to trap them again.

Community Benefits

The communities where these cats live benefit greatly from a TNR program. It reduces and stabilizes community cat populations, saves tax-payers' dollars, helps shelters focus on adoptions, and provides a humane and collaborative way to address concerns and coexist with cats.

"Catch and Kill" & the Vacuum Effect

The traditional approach to feral cats, “catch and kill”, won’t keep an area free of cats for long. Catch and kill is inhumane and creates a vacuum, as do attempts to “relocate” cats. Once the cats are removed from a territory, other cats move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and breed, forming a new colony. Known as the vacuum effect, this is a documented phenomenon in a variety of animals throughout the world. Catch and kill is an endless and costly cycle.

A TNR Happy Tail...

Over the weekend of March 23-24 of 2024, a total of 23 stray/feral cats were captured. 9 of these cats were from Jacob Myers Park in Riverbank, CA. and 14 were from the Cost Less Shopping Center in Oakdale, CA. Five volunteers spent a total of approximately 70 hours trapping, housing, feeding, cleaning, and transporting the animals. 

Of the 23 trapped, two tame cats went to rescue (ASTRO), and 21 were spayed/neutered. Of those spayed/neutered on March 25th, 13 were female, and 9 were pregnant. A fertile cat can produce an average of three litters in one year. The average number of kittens in a feline litter is four to six. Up to 4,948 kittens can be born from one unaltered female cat and her offspring in seven years. Based on that math, we just prevented 63,674 kittens from being born over the next 7 years!


A working TNR program is invaluable to keeping the feral cat population at bay.  Volunteer colony caretakers are instrumental in helping to make this happen as they see the cats everyday and can help identify and trap unaltered animals.  

Total cost for this project was $1,660 provided by donations from the Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance and other anonymous donors. 

ASTRO Foundation donated microchips for each animal. I will send a list separately with chip numbers and description of each cat altered for TNR. Should any of these cats end up at the shelter, we ask they please be returned to their place of origin.  

I want to thank everyone involved in this project, donors, volunteers, Cat Network of Stanislaus County, and most importantly the Cities of Oakdale and Riverbank for allowing the project to go forward.  We look forward to being involved with more projects like this in the near future.  

- Jaydeen Vicente, ASTRO Foundation President and Founder

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