Stray/Feral Cats & Kittens

Effective immediately, Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) will resume intake of sick, injured, unweaned, and abused cats and kittens. Additionally, Contra Costa County residents who have trapped community cats and would like them spayed/neutered and returned at no cost can utilize the CCAS Community Cat program. Information about the CCAS community cat program can be found on our website, or by speaking with a member of our staff.

If you find a healthy, friendly cat in your neighborhood and you want to help, here are some simple steps you can take:

1. Play detective – ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes them. Does it have a microchip or a collar and tags?

2. Attempt to reconnect them with their family - If you are unable to, contact our Admissions Team for help determining your next steps, they can be reached by emailing, or by calling 925-608-8440.

3. If our shelter is overcrowded, consider fostering them yourself - Place flyers up in your neighborhood to find their owner or a new home.

4. Consider bringing them in to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and care for them outdoors, providing food, water, and a warm outdoor cat shelter.

Trap, Neuter, and Return, or TNR, is the most effective and humane way to control the free roaming cat population.

It takes a little time and work, CCAS is here to help you. Addressing cat overpopulation in a humane and effective way is well worth the time and effort and fulfilling way to make a difference in your community.

General Information

CCAS’ Community Cat Program is focused on empowering residents to address pet overpopulation in their neighborhoods, while also ensuring the public health and safety of the people and animals in their community. We also provide traps to help community members trap feral cats and kittens.

What is a Feral Cat?

Feral cats are those that are unsocialized and avoid human contact because they have never had human contact, or over time have lost contact with people. Feral cats can still have a caregiver, someone who is providing food and shelter, or they may seek food and shelter on their own, and consider the neighborhood to be "home". Most survive where there is food and shelter and do well in a variety of settings.

What is a Stray Cat?

Stray cats are friendly cats that may appear to be unowned or abandoned, when in fact they could be owned cats out roaming the neighborhood. Many people assume that a stray is lost or abandoned, when in fact the cat knows exactly where it is! Cats reported to be lost by their owners were 13 times more likely to return home by non-shelter means (return on their own, found by the owner or a neighbor) than if the cats were brought to the shelter.  If you see friendly cats in your yard, it's best to leave them alone as they may actually belong to someone in the neighborhood. Do not feed them or else they will not go home.

What are Community Cats?

Cats living in the neighborhood, whether friendly or feral, owned or not, are referred to as "neighborhood" or "community" cats. Removing cats from an area is not a good long-term solution as the void left by the cats removed will soon be filled by more cats - or other species such as raccoons, opossums or skunks (the "vacuum effect"). The most effective and humane way of dealing with community cats is leaving the cats where they are and having them spayed or neutered. It prevents unwanted kittens, therefore breaking the breeding cycle, allows the cats to live out their lives in their own territory, and over time actually results in a reduction of the cat population. And left in their natural habitat, cats are beneficial by providing natural rodent control.

Abandoned Cats

If you are a property owner or manager and a cat has been abandoned by their owner (cat is left in an apartment by a tenant, they moved out and left the cat outside) please contact the shelter immediately for the proper procedure to handle this situation, before bringing the cat to the shelter. 

More Information

Click on the links below to download more information:

What to do if you Find Kittens

If you find kittens who are alone, determine if the mother has actually abandoned them. She could be looking for food or just hiding nearby. The only way to determine this is to wait. Leave the kittens alone and observe from a distance or a hidden spot. Often she will return within a few hours. Be patient. Kittens that are being cared for will seem healthy and content.

Removing kittens when there is a mother to care for them may actually decrease their chances of survival. Kittens that have to be bottle fed are at a much higher risk of not surviving. As the kittens get older, the mother will spend less time with them. To determine the age of a kitten, visit Alley Cats Allies kitten progression page. If it appears the mother has truly abandoned them or something has happened to her, the kittens are in danger, or they seem to be in distress, then they need intervention. Depending on their age, you may decided to provide care for them until they are old enough to be adopted, or they may be old enough to find them homes. If they are older than 4 months, they are good candidates for Trap-Neuter-Return.For more information about caring and finding homes for kittens, see

Spay/Neuter, Community Cats

CCAS offers FREE spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations and microchips to local trappers and citizens who trap feral cats that will later be returned to the community from which they came. If you wish to bring in feral cats for spay/neuter surgery, please note the following:

  • Spaying/neutering is done Tuesday-Friday on a first come basis
  • Drop off is between 7:30am and 8am and pick up is the same day between 3pm-4pm.
  • Cats must be feral           
  • All cats must be in separate traps (**carriers are not accepted**)          
  • We are able to take 4 cats total per day from the community
  • Only 2 traps per person/address per day will be accepted.          
  • No kittens are accepted through this program
For more information on additional community resources for spaying and neutering, see below:


The documents below will provide you with information on caring for a colony of feral cats, along with how to trap the cats.

           Feral1Feral KittensFeral2