What does the Feral Cat Coalition do?
The Feral Cat Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering and overpopulation of feral and abandoned cats through free, humane Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). We believe it is our responsibility, as a community, to care for cats that have been forced, through human abandonment or failure to spay and neuter, to live outdoors.
When appropriate, we lend humane traps, with instructions, for the purpose of trapping, neutering, and returning feral cats to their outdoor homes, where they are monitored by caretakers.
*We now also offer low-cost spay/neuter services for owned pet cats!
Why can’t feral cats be socialized and adopted into homes?
Because feral cats have had minimal contact with people, they are not socialized and cannot become pets. Feral cats relinquished to shelters are nearly always euthanized. Feral cats can live healthy lives in their outdoor homes. The best alternative to adoption is humane TNR.
Stray cats that are friendly and socialized to people can sometimes be re-homed through rescue organizations. See our list of rescue organizations in the San Diego area. Also, here’s a guide to determining whether a cat you are caring for is a stray.
Does the Feral Cat Coalition foster feral kittens for adoption?
No. If taken from their mothers at a young age (after weaning but before they reach 10 weeks of age), feral kittens can often be tamed, spayed or neutered, and adopted. If you are interested in fostering feral kittens, please read our information about taming feral kittens, caring for them and getting low-cost spay/neuter and vaccines.
Is the Feral Cat Coalition a shelter for feral cats?
No. Our facility conducts free spay/neuter only. We focus on reducing the growth of feral cat communities through humane TNR.
What happens to feral cats when they are brought to animal shelters?
Because feral cats are not socialized to people, they are unadoptable as pets. In most shelters in the United States, unadoptable animals are euthanized. In fact, 70 percent of all cats that enter shelters are killed there, according to the most reliable data available. That number jumps to close to 100 percent for feral cats.
Does the Feral Cat Coalition relocate or remove feral cats?
No. We do not advocate relocation or removal of feral cats. We lend humane traps for the purpose of humane TNR only. Feral cats can live healthy lives in their outdoor homes; the best thing you can do to help them is to TNR. Relocating cats often leads to the cat dying from lack of shelter, food, and water. If you wish to remove feral cats, please contact your local animal control agency.
I found a litter of feral kittens. What do I do?
When you come across kittens living outdoors, you may wonder whether it’s better to take them into your home or leave them outside with their mother. Whatever you decide, it should be in the kittens’ best interest. Here are some helpful links, courtesy of Alley Cat Allies:
- How and When to Care for and Socialize Feral Kittens
- Kitten Progression (to determine age of kittens)
- How to Care for Neonatal Kittens
- How to Find Homes for Stray Cats
How can I find help with feral cats outside of San Diego County?
Try a Google search for feral cat spay/neuter groups in your area that may be able to help.
Are donations to the Feral Cat Coalition tax-deductible?
Yes. Tax-deductible donations are welcome and needed, and go directly to providing free spay/neuter services to feral cats in need.
How do I become an FCC volunteer?
Please complete and submit our volunteer application.
How old do kittens have to be to undergo spay/neuter surgery?
To be sterilized at our spay/neuter clinics, kittens must weigh two pounds. They usually reach this weight at 8-10 weeks of age.
What is an ear tip?
An ear tip is the universally recognized symbol of a neutered feral cat. During surgery, 1/8 to 1/4 inch is removed from the top of the right ear. This procedure is performed while the cat is anesthetized, and is not painful for the cat. Ear tipping is the most effective way to identify neutered feral cats, and to ensure that they are not re-trapped and re-anesthetized for surgery.
I know of one or more feral cats that need to be spayed or neutered. How do I make a clinic reservation?
Click the appointments tab at the top of this site to fill out an appointment request.
Why do you accept only cats in traps?
Cats are accepted only in humane cat traps for our safety and for the safety of the cat. The trap gives us access to the cat from all sides and allows for easier and less stressful administration of anesthesia. Havahart and Harbor Freight traps are not allowed at our clinics. The traps are cheaply made and have fallen apart with cats inside of them, allowing the cats to escape. We recommend Tomahawk and Tru Catch traps. FCC does lend out Tomahawk traps with a 100 percent refundable deposit when the trap is returned.
Community Cats cannot be accepted in cat carriers or cages. Humane traps only.
What if I catch a skunk or opossum?
Have no fear! If you placed a towel over the trap as instructed, this is easy peasy! Walk up to the trap slowly, and keep calm. Screaming or yelping will likely get you sprayed.
If your trap has a back door on it, take the door off and slowly walk away. Do not run and yell!
If you do not have a trap with a back door, hold the door open and stay on the side of the trap. The animal should walk out on its own and run off.
The calmer you are, the easier it is to release.
I think a cat living outside may have an owner. What should I do?
Unlike dogs, which are licensed and considered “property,” cats outside are considered “free roaming” and can be trapped and altered by anyone, as long as you are not going onto someone else’s property without permission.
If you know a cat belongs to a certain home, knock on their door and ask if their cat is spayed or neutered. If you are not comfortable with that, maybe leave a friendly note inquiring if you can help. You are not doing anything illegal if you are trapping cats on your own property, as long as they are returned where they were trapped after being altered.
What if I trap the wrong cat?
If you do not recognize the cat as a neighborhood pet, if it is not wearing a collar, and if it does not have the signature ear tip (1/4 inch cut from the tip of the right ear), do bring the cat to our clinic for spay/neuter. Do not release the cat without first having it altered.
What if I don’t trap all the cats I had reservations for?
Bring the cats you have caught to the clinic. Then reply to your reservations confirmation email and let us know. We will offer you another clinic date for the remaining cats.
Do I need to call and let the clinic know if I don’t catch the cats?
No. Simply reply to your reservations confirmation email and let us know. We will offer you another clinic date.
What if I catch more than one cat in a trap?
Bring an extra, empty trap with you to the clinic. Clinic staff will separate the cats after they are anesthetized. Do not try to separate the cats yourself. If you do not have an extra trap, you can borrow one ($50 refundable deposit) at the clinic.
What if I’ve trapped a cat that is pregnant?
Bring the cat to the clinic. The veterinarian on duty will determine whether it is safe to spay the cat.
What if I catch a cat that has a medical issue I didn’t know about when I made the reservation?
Reply to your reservations confirmation email and let us know. We will determine whether the cat can be treated at our clinic or if it needs to be referred to one of FCC’s partner veterinary clinics.
What if a cat was trapped overnight and I don’t know when it last ate?
Bring the cat to the clinic. The clinic supervisor will determine whether it’s safe for the cat to undergo anesthesia.
What if I decide to take trapped cats to my local animal shelter using FCC traps?
If you take cats to the animal shelter in FCC traps, the traps will be confiscated, and your deposit will not be returned.