This video was presented at the HSUS EXPO 2017 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the Saving Cats track and was produced as a collaborative effort by Million Cat Challenge, HSUS, Best Friends & Target Zero. It describes the powerful positive impact of Community Cat programs (CCPs), in these programs urban stray cats are captured, desexed, vaccinated, microchipped and treated for parasites and then returned to their outdoor homes.  County Animal Control staff speak about the dramatic effect in saving cats’ lives, and the benefit to staff and dogs in their care.

Community Cat Program is the most humane and effective method known for managing free-living cats in urban areas. In CCPs, urban stray cats are captured, desexed, microchipped, vaccinated and then rehomed or returned to their outdoor homes. Caretakers provide food and shelter and monitor the cats. When foster or permanent homes are available, young kittens and friendly adults are removed and placed for adoption.

In many municipal animal facilities and shelters, healthy stray cats that are poorly socialised to people are euthanased, and others are euthanased because there are simply insufficient available homes for cats.

Cat diversion programs, also known as return to field (RTF) and shelter-neuter and return (SNR) are where healthy stray cats that are brought to shelters, but are unlikely to be adopted, are neutered and returned to their home location where they were found. These cats are healthy, and are getting food and shelter from people who may, or may not, consider themselves owners.

Cat diversion programs save many cat lives. They also save human lives, because there is a significant human cost to killing. Up to 50% of shelter workers directly involved with euthanasia develop health problems including post-traumatic stress leading to depression, substance abuse, high blood pressure, and tragically in some cases, suicide. In USA, the animal rescue sector now has a suicide rate equal to the most traumatising professions – firefighters and police.

Other explanations of comments in the video:

Open cages in winter means they have empty cat cages and this allows for portals between adjacent cages to be opened to give cats more space. This decreases the disease risk and improves welfare of the cats which are in the shelter.

An ear tipped cat is shown. Ear tipping is used on free-living cats to indicate that they have been desexed, and helps to protect cats and minimize unnecessary recapturing.

The complainant is someone who had been complaining to council for 18 years about cats in the vicinity of where he lived, and council Animal Control Officers (ACOs) had trapped 46 cats from area over that time to try to deal with complaints, but had not resolved the issue over 18 years. After implementation of CCP the complainant is extremely happy.