Proven Strategies

two black and white cats sharing a gentle kiss

Cats Outside, It's Going to be OK

Why does our instinct tell us that a cat outside needs to be taken to a shelter? Once at the shelter, should cats be limited to indoor adoption outcomes? Are we really saving them?

Lead by Michelle Logan, director of national embed programming for Best Friends Animal Society, we explore how as an industry we can best serve our community and its cats.


  • Don Riser, animal services manage, Hesperia Animal Services
  • Osby Montes, senior animal control officer, Hesperia Animal Services
  • Audra Mullins, animal control officer, Santa Rosa County Animal Services
  • Leah Massey, community cat program manager, The Humane Society of Charlotte
  • Bennett Simonsen, community programs manager, Pima Animal Care Center

Don & Osby:  

  • Don, tell me what helped you overcome your hesitation and implement this program? -0:02:13
  • Obsy, what were some of the critical factors for leading your team through this change? -0:04:31
  • What do you guys want to say to folks who say that the return portion of these programs is abandonment? -0:06:35
  • Finally, Don people tend to focus solely on the lifesaving component of these programs, but you have seen another positive impact as a result, can you tell us about that? -0:08:45


  • Audra, as an officer, you have some great relationships with the citizens in your community, talk to us a bit about how it feels to not have to take away their cats. -0:11:56
  • I want to touch on the abandonment topic with you as well since you mentioned to me that initially you had some issues with returning cats, can you tell me your thoughts on why you were opposed to the return and how your view has changed? -0:12:58
  • You and the team are not only doing return to field, but also proactive TNR. What results are you already seeing as a result? -0:14:35
  • What do you want to say to other agencies and officers who are resistant to doing a community cat program? -0:18:06


  • Leah, your program is a bit different as you work for the humane society, a private non-profit vs. municipal service, but this program was designed in collaboration with animal care and control as a bit of a work-around since the community could not start a full community cat program, can you give us some insight? -0:19:13
  • You piloted different phases of this program, each success you built on another layer, I love that you said, “you have to get your foot in the door and then pry it open”, and “you try, or you say let’s do this, one aspect”, can you take us through that a bit and showcase the impact? -0:21:16
  • You mentioned using the “virus” to start a kitten program, I’m sure everyone could use some positive covid news so please share some details on this newer “pilot”. -0:25:20
  • Leah, talk to me a bit about how you prioritize your work to have a direct impact on ACC live release rate? -0:28:27


  • Bennett, you don’t run a community cat program, but your community programs intersects greatly with community cat programs and I wanted you to speak a bit about that correlation… -0:30:26
  • I’m sure you have some amazing stories about folks who were thrilled to get their community cat back after TNVR, which one stands out the most to you -0:33:00
  • How does ownership of a community cat as a pet differ from what shelters perceive as a “traditional” pet? In what ways is it the same? -0:35:16
  • Why would someone choose to let a friendly community cat stay outdoors? -0:39:13
  • How can shelters support people who have community cats as pets? -0:41:20


  • How do you work with citizens concerned about returning friendly cats? -0:44:20
  • Working for a non-profit, have you had any organizations vocal against the work you’re doing? -0:47:08
  • How did the decision get made to make the switch to supporting a community cat program? -0:49:15





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