Helping Neighborhood Homeless Cats

Helping Neighborhood Homeless Cats

This was contributed by Alley Cat – one of RescueInk’s team:

If you are interested in helping out cats that are homeless (cats that once were a pet or friendly feral cats (born on the street and often unfriendly and scared of people), there are several options.  There are often resources available to assist in helping homeless cats, including local shelters, rescue groups, and more, and you can find local resources with a simple Internet search.

One common and very effective way to help is called TNR, which means Trap, Neuter, Release.  If you are interested in TNR, you will need a specialized trap which you may be able to borrow from local rescue groups (or they may be available to come to you and do the trapping).  These special traps do not harm the cat, and provide safety for you – you never know if a street cat may become aggressive and scratch you!

Neutering or spaying can be done at a local shelter, your local SPCA, or a rescue group in your area.  Call and ask about the costs – most will do this for a nominal cost or for free, but it’s an essential component of preventing an increase in the problem of homeless cats.  You just need to check around in your community.   By ‘fixing’ the cats, they will never have generations of kittens and cats born in the outdoors and this makes a huge difference in the ever expanding feral cat population.  This is makes a much healthier and better living situation for these homeless cats.

Release means what it says: after the neutering surgery the cats need a couple of days to recover from the procedure.  Often a garage, empty room, bathroom or shed works and it’s also easy to just let them stay in the trap or a big size carrier.  Put some newspaper down and change as needed.  Also feed them in the trap or carrier.  If they are unfriendly or aggressive you want to protect yourself, and the less you give them to interact with, the safer.   You can also use a really sturdy pair of gloves to wear.  The long gauntlet-type welder gloves work great once you get used to them.  When you release the cats the best place is where they are already familiar with: exactly where they were trapped.  But first, you may find that your local rescue or shelter may be willing to hold them and put them up for adoption.

If you go online, the leading advocacy group in the world is Alley Cat Allies,  and they also offer brochures, provide many questions and answers, including testing for common illnesses in outdoor populations, working with your friends, co-workers and neighbors in TNR.  There are also YouTube videos on humane trapping and releasing.

Another step people like to do for homeless cats is to provide food, water and shelter for them.  Often many people “fall for” these cats who are struggling to make it on the street and bond with the kitties they are feeding.  And the cats are sure to appreciate the assistance.

By feeding these cats it also keeps them from being destructive with trash, garbage cans, etc   I have several cats I feed at my workplace and over the years I see how healthy and happy they can become even while living outdoors.  Since many of these cats were formerly pets, after a trip to the vet they can may very well be suitable to be fostered or adopted.

There are several ways to build cat shelters including from big Rubbermaid type containers, plywood and more.  You can find the information and videos on the Internet for any type of shelter you are interested in building.  If you feel that it is too difficult to build your own, shelters are also available to purchase and they are not expensive.

I often build shelters and enclosed feeding stations out of plywood.  These can be more difficult as you need a wood cutting table saw, screw gun, finish nail gun, jigsaw, etc.  A nice warm shelter can very easily mean the difference between life and death for these homeless cats, or frostbite in cold weather, or just a safe place to spend the night.

I have made and placed shelters throughout the SE Philadelphia and South Jersey areas.

Here are some photos of shelters for homeless cats I’ve built and used, and if you want more info on any of these, or help in making some yourself, email us at

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Thanks for helping out.  And PLEASE take a minute to make a donation to  The work we do is so important, and as a charitable animal welfare organization, we are completely dependent on contributions from people like you.  Visit us at to learn more, find  out how you can help, and of course, please share this link on your Facebook page.



Animal cruelty is without question one of the sickest and most despicable crimes in the world, and also the most preventable. 

People engage in animal abuse in every city around the world, for many different reasons – NONE of them acceptable. Animal abusers come in all walks of life, from all professions, and all classes.  Many times animal abuse is not as easily evident as it is with pet owners who viciously beat their pets. The most common pets in an American household are cats and dogs, and the statistics are nothing short of alarming.

An abused animal can turn on a human in an instant, so children and innocent bystanders can be attacked by an animal if it feels threatened. When abused, animals are not the only ones in danger.

Animal Cruelty Statistics

  • Each year 10,000 dogs die in illegal dog fighting
  • 13% of animal abuse involves domestic violence; Women in abusive relationships often don’t leave their abuser because they worry what will happen to their pet if they leave; men who abuse their partners tend to be more violent, aggressive people who seem to have no problem ‘taking it out on the dog’
  • 70% of animal abusers also have records of other crimes – often violent crimes
  • 3 to 4 million cats and dogs (healthy and adoptable) are euthanized every year in shelters
  • Animals that are not euthanized are often sent to no-kill shelters where the animals are caged for weeks, months or years and the animals risk psychological damage, physical damage, illness and dying of loneliness; they often don’t get the medical attention they need as shelters are often underfunded and understaffed
  • In the United States alone 1.13 million animals are used in testing and research every year – while there are other equally or more effective methods for developing new cosmetics and drug products
  • More than 15 million warm blooded animals are used in research worldwide, and often kept in extremely uncomfortable cages, with little or no medical care

Look for These Signs of Animal Abuse and Cruelty in Cats and Dogs:

  • Malnutrition, with pets being so skinny you can often see their rib cages
  • Hair loss and other diseases of the skin or eyes
  • Unexplained injuries, health problems or permanent disabilities, such as limping
  • Being left in extreme heat for more than 15 minutes, or being left in extreme cold without proper shelter or a retreat they can warm up in
  • Animal hoarding, where people have been found to have dozens or even hundreds of cats and dogs in their house – most of them underfed and malnourished
  • Engaging in dog or cock fighting or attending the “games”
  • Shock collars, electric fences and prong collar training

Ways to Prevent Animal Cruelty

  • Know who to contact in your area if you suspect animal abuse. You can call your local police department for the information or call or email – a charitable organization dedicated to preventing animal abuse – and who are willing to get personally involved to stop this abuse; you can reach at 1-855-772-8465 (toll-free), or by email at:  All information is always kept strictly confidential, and the sooner you report a suspected case of animal abuse, the sooner we can do something to step in and potentially save an animal’s life.
  • Teach your kids and other children how to treat animals and to respect them as living creatures like ourselves.
  • Speak up!  If you see animal abuse in action, say something.  If you are afraid of getting involved directly, or think the situation is potentially dangerous, call 911 and call us.  Anywhere.  Anytime.
  • Support your local no-kill shelter or society and get to know the work they are involved in.  Volunteer if you have time – they are always in need of more people to help out.  Make a donation – of whatever you can afford – even $5 or $10 goes a long way in feeding and caring for abused or rescued animals.
  • Take care of the animals you have. If you don’t want kittens or puppies, spay or neuter your animals or don’t let them around other animals while they are outside.
  • Don’t animals on a whim, like kittens or puppies or bunnies for your children –
    the fascination wears off quickly, and in many cases results in animals being
  • Learn more about the work of – a unique organization of some very tough and very serious men and women who have made a commitment to stopping animal abuse and responding to reports quickly and effectively.  Our site is, and we always appreciate support, emails, mentions on Facebook, donations of money or much-needed supplies, but most importantly we’d like to hear from you about the work we are doing.

Cruelty to animals can be prevented in so many ways, but nothing can be done if it’s not seen or reported. Educate people you see abusing their animals and always, always report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement or animal control, and you can always report animal abuse to us at

And PLEASE… consider making a donation to support – we are a 501(c)3 non-profit charity, and totally reliant on the support of people like you.  Every dollar helps rescue, care for, pay for medical expenses, shelter, feed and find adoptive homes for animals in need.  Thank you!