Two black and brown cats with long fur sitting in the sun

Community Cat Programs Handbook

Community cat programs (CCPs) are an integral part of operations for animal shelters across the U.S. This humane, fiscally responsible and effective programming provides an immediate, lasting response for cats in and out of shelters, frees up valuable resources and increases adoption of cats not eligible for return. 

The revised version of the Community Cat Programs Handbook is fully updated with the latest research and effective practices to start or enhance a CCP. Community cats are widely accepted as members of the community and there is growing public support for lifesaving programs, such as trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR, also known as trap-neuter-return or TNR). Organized into 28 chapters that may be viewed individually or collectively, the handbook acknowledges the unique relationships between free-roaming cats and residents, and demonstrates how CCPs benefit everyone.

Whether your organization is in the beginning phases or has an established program, the Community Cat Programs Handbook is an essential resource to increase and sustain lifesaving for cats while supporting your community with a lasting solution.


Chapter 1: Introduction to Community Cat Programs

Chapter 2: Staffing Considerations
Chapter 3: Volunteer Engagement
Chapter 4: Marketing and Public Relations
Chapter 5: Key Legal Issues to Consider
Chapter 6: Financial Considerations
Chapter 7: Facility Considerations
Chapter 8: Community Outreach and Engagement
Chapter 9: Community Cat Management and Caregiver Resources
Chapter 10: Program Sustainability

Chapter 11: Working Toward Positive Outcomes
Chapter 12: Working with Field Services and Dispatch Staff
Chapter 13: Working with Shelter Staff and Volunteers
Chapter 14: Working with Veterinarians and Veterinary Clinics
Chapter 15: Working with Local TNVR and Rescue Groups
Chapter 16: Trapping Protocols
Chapter 17: Guidelines to Consider
Chapter 18: Housing Cats and Kittens
Chapter 19: Post-surgery Recovery
Chapter 20: Returning Cats
Chapter 21: Staff and Volunteer Safety Protocols
Chapter 22: Data and Statistics
Chapter 23: How to Address Various Complaints
Chapter 24: Saving Kittens
Chapter 25: Safety Equipment for Handling Community Cats

Chapter 26: Additional Cat Lifesaving Programs
Chapter 27: Building a Successful Working Cat Program
Chapter 28: Disaster Preparedness for Caregivers

Download the handbook