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Thanks for the 'Tip': How to recognize community cats

Do you know the difference between a lost cat and a community cat? Check out these tips from the Humane Society of Statesboro Bulloch County and Fixing the Boro to see how you can help with cat overpopulation in our community.

Community cats, stray cats, or feral cat colonies are all too common in most places, and Bulloch County is no exception. Check out this information to help you determine what to do if you find a cat roaming about.

Community Cats

The Humane Society of Statesboro Bulloch County states on its website that community cats are any outside, free-roaming cat. Also known as feral, stray, or alley cat. They live outdoors and are not “homeless.” Outdoor cats can show varying levels of socialization. They sometimes live alone or in colonies with other cats.

How can you tell if a cat is a “community cat” or needs to be rescued? First look and see if it’s eartipped. If so, that means the cat has been TNR’ed— Trapped, Neutered or Spayed, then returned to the area it was found as a community cat. It most likely is being fed by one or more people in the area. 

TNR'ed Cat | Photo: Ashlea Mask

It could also be a pet that lives nearby, or an abandoned cat.

According to The Humane Society of the United States, “Most lost cats are found only a few houses away from where they live. Many cats considered 'lost' are not lost at all. They know exactly where they are.”  

Many cats will find their way home after a few days of roaming the neighborhood. 

If you are able, get the cat scanned for a microchip at a local vet, rescue, or animal shelter. This service is always free. 

Bulloch County Animal Services stress that you cannot rehome a found animal to someone else without going through the proper required procedures first. All found animals in Bulloch County must be reported to BCAS and their found report completed in hopes of reunification of the animal to its owners. 

If you find kittens that look healthy, it is a strong indicator that their mother is not far away even if you don’t see her. The best place for kittens is with their mother, so you should leave them be. 

The best way to ensure your cat comes home if it becomes lost is to get it microchipped. Microchips are available at your vet office, Fixing the Boro, or the Bulloch County Animal Services. Always call Bulloch County Animal Services and put in a lost report if your cat wanders from home. 


The Humane Society of Statesboro Bulloch County has some great tips if you find a cat: 

  • FRIENDLY outdoor cats that are found should go to the Bulloch County Animal Services. Someone may be looking for it. (They will put in Found report and post on social media to try to find the cat's owner.)
  • UNFRIENDLY trapped cats should go through the Humane Society’s Community Cat Program to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated. The cat is then returned to its original location. 
  • Unhealthy or injured cats—whether friendly or unfriendly—must go to the Bulloch County Animal Shelter (81 Millcreek Road; 912-764-4529).

How You Can Help

  • Volunteer! Through trap-neuter-return (TNR), you can significantly improve individual cats’ lives, reduce cat overpopulation in your area, and perform a valuable community service.
  • Monitor your neighborhood’s colonies or watch for cats that need to be TNR-ed.
  • Help raise awareness by talking to neighbors, spreading the word about local TNR programs. 
  • Donate to local community cat programs.
Photo: HSSBC

Shelby Phillips, Cat Coordinator at Fixing the Boro shares how to help overpopulation. 

She says, "Spay and neuter! It is our responsibility as a community to assist with the overpopulation even if the cats aren’t owned. We like to say, 'If you feed them, fix them!' We have many options in our community and surrounding areas to help not only assist with the cost of spay/neuter but also pet food pantries to assist with those taking on the burden of feeding colonies, and as long as they are actively TNRing or altering their pets to help stop the madness, we are more than glad to assist with food!"

HSSBC and Fixing the Boro are always in need of donations and foster homes. To apply to foster at Fixing the Boro, find information here. To apply to foster at HSSBC, find information here

The HSSBC Community Cat Program is funded by fundraisers and generous donations from the community. The program is a proven and humane way to control the outdoor cat population. For information on the program including details on how to TNR, check out their website here

Other helpful resources: