I Found a Feral/Community Cat

community cat

Community cats, sometimes called feral, stray, or outdoor cats, can be friendly or unsocial, but they aren’t lost: they are free-roaming cats who live—at least part of the time—outside. They share our neighborhoods and find shelter in yards, alleys, parking lots, and porches. Community cats may have one or more compassionate caregivers who help provide food and shelter, and, as a result, they often have more than one name. Following the recommendations of leading national organizations such as the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program (KSMP), National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), ASPCA, American Association of Feline Practitioners, and Million Cat Challenge, we do not admit healthy free-roaming cats to the shelter. 

We recognize the overwhelming benefits of leaving healthy cats with no signs of illness or injury in their environments, including reduced risk for that cat and every other cat in the shelter, increased chance of owner reunification for lost cats, and conserving resources for cats that truly need our help. Because of the powerful “vacuum effect,” removing a cat from its environment without also removing the food source has been linked to an increase in cat populations by as much as 200%. 


If a healthy, free-roaming cat is visiting your yard and has no identification:

  • Play detective—ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes them. If the cat is friendly, use this paper collar template to help determine if the cat is owned.

  • Schedule an appointment at CCAS through our Community Cat Program, where cats/kittens over 12 weeks of age will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and returned at no cost. This is the most effective and humane way to stabilize the free-roaming cat population.

  • For tips on reducing nuisance issues and humanely deterring the cat from your yard, visit How to Live with Cats in Your Neighborhood.

For more guidance on community cats and kittens, click here.

Additional Resources

See our Lost & Found Resources Guide.

PLEASE NOTE: We can only accept animals found within our service area of Contra Costa County, which excludes Antioch. If you find an animal in Antioch, please contact Antioch Animal Services.