​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Feral cats, also known as community cats, are not owned and are not sufficiently socialized to humans to be candidates for adoption. Community cats live outdoors because they are lost, abandoned, free-roaming or have been born outside.

A trap, neuter, return and manage program is the only effective and humane solution to reduce community cat populations.

How it works

Feral or community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered (sterilized), examined for health concerns, and vaccinated, including rabies. After the procedure, they are returned to their original cat colony with the tip of the left ear removed. The ear tip is a universal sign and visual identifier that the cat has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and is part of a TNRM program.

If community cats are deemed adoptable, they are placed into appropriate adoption programs.

Benefits of TNRM programs

Trap-neuter-return and manage (TNRM) is a humane and effective approach to managing and reducing the population of feral cats.

Over time, a decline in the community cat population can lead to a reduction in the number of feral cats entering our shelter and reduce the risk of euthanasia. Additionally, behaviours associated with breeding, such as scent or urine marking, roaming, vocalizing, and fighting, are reduced. This not only improves the quality of life for cats but also mitigates the risk of cat-human conflicts within our city. Spaying and neutering one female and one male cat can prevent 2,000 unwanted births over four years.

Tips to keep community cats away:

If you want to keep community cats away from your property, you can try the following humane methods:

  • Remove any sources of food that might attract them.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices to scare them away.
  • ​Use scent repellents like coffee grounds or lemon to deter them.
  • Soak the soil in your garden with water to make it less appealing to cats.
  • Create barriers cats can’t cross using physical deterrents such as rocks, plastic garden protection, or mulch. Seal locations on your property that cats are entering through.
  • Cover sandboxes when not in use to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes.

Register as a cat colony operator

​Most community cats live together in social and family groups called colonies. A cat colony operator or caretaker provides basic care and record-keeping for a colony.​

If you ar​​e a cat colony operator in Brampton, you must register with Brampton Animal Services. Registration is free and can be started by calling Brampton Animal Services. Cat colony operators must complete a community cat course ​​before r​​egistering.​

Operators approved to run cat colonies are exempt from specific Animal Services by-laws. They also receive assistance in the following ways:

  • training in caring for community cats and how to humanely trap them
  • transportation of trapped cats to our partner veterinary clinics
  • programs for fostering, socializing and adopting kittens and cats​
  • access to resources from the pet food pantry​​​​
  • winterized cat shelters
  • spay/neuter services for community cats