Community Cat Program

What is Operation C.A.T.?

Operation CAT aims to reduce shelter death through targeted sterilization of Fort Wayne and Allen County's free-roaming cat population. Operated collaboratively by H.O.P.E. for Animals, the Allen County SPCA, and Fort Wayne Animal Care & ControlOperation CAT utilizes a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) model and strives to humanely catch, sterilize, rabies vaccinate, microchip and ear-tip free-roaming and stray cats. This proven method is the only way to save lives and improve our community’s free-roaming felines’ health and reduce overpopulation at the same time.​

Community cats are free roaming cats or kittens that have no identifiable owners. It is estimated that there are thousands of felines living in our region that have to fend for themselves. These cats are reproducing at an alarming rate, adding to the already heavy burden of pet overpopulation.

Community cats are typically not adoptable. They have a home—outdoors. These cats live and thrive in every landscape, from the inner city to rural farmland. When they enter shelters they drain the already limited resources and take up space. This is very stressful for the cat and costly for the community. By spaying or neutering a free roaming cat, and returning it to the area that it is from, we can begin to sterilize that area and reduce the number of cats entering shelters. TNR - Trap Neuter Return is a proven plan that is effective in reducing the amount of free-roaming cats in our community.

If you need help trapping cats in your area, please give us a call. For a small fee of just $25 for our friends in Allen County we can come out and help you with the trapping and transport of community cats. For those residing outside of Allen County, we may still be able to help at an additional cost, please contact us for more information at 260-440-8893.

Click to Download: Community Cat Care Guidelines and Summary of City Ordinances

Winter Cat Trapping & Care

Contact Community Cats:
Phone: 260-440-8893

Winter Cat Shelter InstructionsWatch the video from our shelter building day

Community Cat
Walk-In Hours

Drop-Off at 8:00A
Limited spots for walk-ins each day.

To arrange an appointment for drop off of 3 or more community cats or for assistance with trapping, please contact our Community Cat Coordinator on the Community Cat Hotline.

Community Cat Hotline

Community Cats can be brought into the clinic on a walk-in basis on Mondays – Thursdays at 8 am. We accept a limited number of walk-ins each day. If you have 3 or more feral cats needing surgery on the same day, you may contact the Community Cat Coordinator to schedule an appointment for those community cats. 260-440-8893

What is an Ear-Tip?
Ear-tipping is a nationally recognized way to identify sterilized and vaccinated cats. It is difficult to get close to some community cats; so the identification must be visible from a distance. Immediate visual identification is necessary to prevent an unnecessary second trapping and surgery. This is done while the cat is under anesthesia. Ear-tipping removes the top 1/3 of the left ear.

Community Cats in Fort Wayne
Through a partnership with Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, the Allen County SPCA and H.O.P.E. for Animals, outdoor cats in Fort Wayne are now safer. All cats brought to Animal Care and Control are evaluated by their staff and determined if they qualify for the Community Cat Program. If the cat is approved for the program, the shelter brings them to H.O.P.E. for Animals, where they get fixed, receive a rabies vaccine, microchip and then ear-tipped. After surgery the Allen County SPCA picks them up and transports back to their home where they were found and releases them.

The Vacuum Effect
Catching and killing feral cats is animal control’s traditional approach for feral cats. Catch and kill attempts may temporarily reduce the number of feral cats in a given area, but two things happen: intact survivors continue to breed, and other cats move in to the now-available territory. This is a phenomenon known as the vacuum effect, and it is documented worldwide.

With TNR there are no more kittens; the population stabilizes. And the returned neutered cats’ lives are improved. Behaviors and stresses associated with pregnancy and mating, such as yowling or fighting, stop.