Our Mission:
IndyFeral seeks to reduce the stray and feral cat overpopulation through the non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), not trap and kill.
Understanding the Stray & Feral Cat Overpopulation Crisis

Understanding the Problem

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The Source of Overpopulation

cat on with kittensStray and feral cats are the greatest source of cat overpopulation. Almost all stray and feral cats are intact (ACA U.S. SN status of cats). Left to their own devices, feral cats are trapped in an endless cycle of breeding and scavenging for food.

This segment of the cat population has been ignored far too long and their numbers have exploded. Stray and feral cats produce 80% of the kittens that flood the shelter each Spring (ACA Feral cat clinic results). These cats and their offspring are the victims of abandonment (see our abandonment flyer) accidental loss or the result of pet owners who allow their intact cats to roam freely and breed unchecked.

Intake Drives Killing

The municipal shelters can't save and support the huge number of accidental litters, stray and family cats brought to the shelter doors everyday. In the U.S. the most comprehensive data indicates that nearly 72% of cats that enter these facilities are killed. For feral cats, the kill rate in shelters and pounds rises to virtually 100% (Cat Fatalities and Secrecy in U.S pound and Shelters). Cats entering the shelter have only three possible outcomes: being adopted, reunited with an owner or killed. Yet feral cats or cats that arrive in a trap to the shelter are unsocialized to humans and can't adjust to life in a human home as they have no traditional "owners" to claim them. For them, the only possible outcome is death.

The solution

The solution is simple. Reduce cat intake in the shelters. Fewer cats means less killing.

Help us, help the cats. By humanely trapping stray and feral cats in your neighborhood you are taking a positive action instead of doing nothing. Your efforts are a step towards ending the cat overpopulation crisis in our city and improving their lives.

Support and utilize non-lethal cat programs like IndyFeral, FACE neighborhood cat package and the Low-cost clinic feral cat package for TNR and low-cost spay neuter services for all cats (U.S Public opinion of the humane treatment of stray cats).

Benefits of TNR and low-cost spay neuter

  • To reduce the number of cats and mitigate their suffering from starvation and disease
  • Create an economically feasible way for communities to humanely reduce the population of stray and feral cats, thus easing neighborhood tensions and fostering compassion
  • To relieve local animal control facilities of the financial and emotional burden of killing healthy cats

The stray and feral cat population must continue to be addressed aggressively in the form of community-wide prevention strategies, increased services, resources, and funding or they will continue to be a significant source of shelter intake.

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Trap-Neuter-Return: Fixing Feral Cat Overpopulation

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Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a strategy for improving the lives of feral cats and reducing their numbers. In this short video, Bryan Kortis of Neighborhood Cats presents an introduction to the feral cat crisis, explains the basics of TNR, and explains why a community TNR program is beneficial not only to cats but to the whole communitiy.

When TNR is embraced by a community, it works. Here is an example of TNR being used successfully to control cat populations on Tangier Island, Virginia. Video by Best Friends Animal Society

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Community Support for TNR

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Public Support

"For years as a resident of Indianapolis, one never had a resource available for a humane solution for stray/feral cats. The only alternative our city offered for them was death. With IndyFeral’s Trap-Neuter-Return program not only do the cats win so do the residents of Indianapolis. The city saves tax dollars and the cats and those who care for them now have a non-lethal solution. Thank you IndyFeral!" ~ Phebe Blackburn, Indianapolis

More support from the public:

The Waters of Indianapolis Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing facility appreciates IndyFeral's assistance.

After IndyFeral went to work in her neighborhood, Sue Mills of Indianapolis noticed that there were fewer cats, and the ones she did see were healthier.

Eastway Development is grateful for the impact that IndyFeral's TNR effort has had.

Related articles:

Redefining Humane by Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies. Alley Cat Allies has shown that the vast majority of people think it is more humane to allow stray and feral to stay outside rather than have them killed, but all too often, humane societies and animal control facilities take the opposite view. Practicing TNR can help redefine "humane".

US Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray Cats by Alley Cat Allies. This is the study referred to in the article "Redefining Humane" which shows pubic opinion supports TNR efforts. The results here reveal a significant disparity between the public’s humane ethic and the operating policy of most U.S. animal pounds and shelters.

Who Speaks for the Animals? By Wendy Anderson. In this article published for the American Bar Association's Animal Law Committee's Newsletter, Wendy Anderson says that a for many cat lover's, the idea of protection includes sterilization, not "humane" killing.

IndyFeral Registered Colony Map, January 2007: With over 2,500 registered colonies in the central Indiana area, IndyFeral shows that the public supports humane TNR efforts.

Animal Control

"TNR has reduced complaints that Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) has received regarding the nuisance of free-roaming cats in the city. This has allowed IACC to concentrate on more serious public safety issues. TNR also improves the quality of life for the stray and feral cat population in our city" ~ Teri Kendrick, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control Administrator

Related articles:

In 2006, IndyFeral partnered with Indianapolis ACC to provide targeted TNR to three Marion County zip codes with disproportionately high levels of free-roaming cat impoundments. All of the areas saw significant decreases in cat impoundments, with two of the three areas showing larger declines than the average for the county as a whole.

Nothing "Necessary" about this Evil by Donna Wilcox, Alley Cat Allies. Most of the cats that die each year are killed in shelters. No one likes killing cats, but some feel it is necessary, while those who practice TNR know it is not.

Taking a Broader View of Cats in the Community: When it comes to cat management, the National Animal Control Association (NACA) believes the times are a-changin’.

TNR For Animal Control Agencies: In this fact sheet designed for animal control agencies, Alley Cat Allies shows that TNR is the most effective method of dealing with cats, both in terms of costs and results.

Humane Society

“Feral cats do not belong in animal shelters. They are not candidates for adoption since they are not socialized to humans. Feral cats are most content living outside. TNR provides a more humane existence for ferals while reducing the behaviors that make them unwelcome neighbors. TNR is a positive step forward for a community that cares about all its animals.” ~ John Aleshire, Executive Director, Humane Society of Indianapolis

Related articles:

Feral Cats Don’t Belong in Shelters by Becky Robinson, Alley Cat Allies. Feral cats are wild and are never candidates for adoption. Whether it is immediately or after a holding period, feral cats are killed in shelters. What does this accomplish?

Can We Afford the Human Cost of Humane Euthanasia? By Kris Rerecich, Alley Cat Allies. Taking lives takes a toll on shelter workers. By keeping feral cats out of shelters, this toll is reduced. This article is the companion to the article "Feral Cats Don't Belong in Shelters".

Adopt a FIV+ Cat? Positively! Best Friends article highlights the efforts of IndyFeral and The Humane Society of Indianapolis to find homes for FIV+ cats and educate the community about the misunderstood disease.


“TNR enables people to be part of the solution. It gives people the tools and resources they need to improve the lives of these cats in ways they can’t do otherwise. TNR acts as a safety net for the cats and offers a long-term solution that benefits communities for years to come. The success we are seeing in Indianapolis is due to the dedication of the Indyferal volunteers working together with the veterinarian community, city officials and neighborhoods. Considering cutbacks in public services, Indyferal has worked out a great program that saves tax payer dollars. I would encourage other municipalities to adopt a TNR program as an additional resource to help combat the free-roaming cat overpopulation crisis.” ~ Angela Mansfield, Indianapolis City-County Councilor

The Positive Impact of TNR in Indianapolis: From 2004 through 2007, cat intake at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control decreased by 37% and 29% fewer cats were killed.

Indianapolis City Council Resolution recognizes IndyFeral's impact: In 2007, The Indianapolis City-County Council proudly recognized IndyFeral for its commitment to providing services and resources in central Indiana to control the feral and stray cat problem through humane means.

“TNR has overwhelming public support as a non-lethal way to address the stray and feral cat problem. I would encourage more communities to push for humane legislation that would allow for TNR in their cities. People want to do the right thing but they need our support. I consider this to be a wonderfully fulfilling ordinance now in effect within the town of Speedway” ~ Lucinda Hillmer, President, Speedway Town Council

IndyFeral Registered Colony Map, January 2007: With over 2,500 registered colonies in the central Indiana area, IndyFeral shows that the public supports humane TNR efforts.

“Clearly, the number of unowned animals roaming our city is a quality of life issue for both animals and people. Since the passage of the TNR ordinance, our neighborhood liaisons have been working with Indyferal to educate neighborhoods on the options available for addressing unowned cats. In an effort to achieve comprehensive revitalization, partnerships such as this are exceedingly valuable.” ~ Maury Plambeck, Director, Department of Metropolitan Development

Indianapolis-area TNR Ordinances:

City of Indianapolis, Indiana's TNR Ordinance.

City of Lawrence, Indiana's TNR Ordinance.

Town of Speedway, Indiana's TNR Ordinance


“Feral cats are not socialized to humans and are more content to live outside, but that doesn’t mean their lives should be valued any less than domestic cats. Feral cats just need a different kind of care. By participating in a TNR program such as that offered by IndyFeral, which provides life-saving spay/neuter and medical and surgical management of each feral cat colony, veterinarians have a unique opportunity to lead the way in ensuring that these homeless cats have a better quality of life.” ~ Cara Gardner, DVM, CVA, Indyferal volunteer veterinarian

For me, volunteering with IndyFeral is a way to connect with and give back to the community. It reminds me that I became a technician to help people and animals. I have learned to appreciate that feral cats are loved for their function and beauty, as much as any other wild animal. ~ Jessica Peveler, RVT

Related articles:

The American Association of Feline Practitioners Position Statement on Free-Roaming, Abandoned and Feral Cats

The American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) Policy on Free-roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats

Public Health

“TNR helps by protecting public health. Studies show feral and owned cats share similar health status. Vaccinating, sterilizing and returning healthy cats to managed colonies are the best ways to protect the public from the spread of disease.” ~ Sandra Norman, DVM, Director, Companion Animal/Equine, Indiana State Board of Animal Health

Related articles/links:

Alley Cat Allies Rabies: A Public Health Victory

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Programs Protect Public Health

Rabies in companion animals

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Start a TNR group in your community

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Check out these resources if you are interested in learning how to start a TNR program in your community.

IndyFerals' Presentation "Bringing the Community Together on TNR"

This presentation provides an overview of IndyFeral's programs, and shows how IndyFeral has worked within the Indianapolis Community to build consensus on TNR. It illustrates key steps to be taken and gives examples of how partnerships can be formed that benefit all parties.

Neighborhood Cats' Resources page.

This page has links to get you started learning about legal issues, ordinances, funding, resources, and more.

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