Strays / Feral Cats
Free roaming cats, also referred to as community cats, present a challenge to the health and safety of county citizens, as well as the health and safety of the cats. In order to confront this challenge with a new approach, the Board of County Commissioners has approved a Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, & Release (TNVR) program.
For Community Cats - TNVR Program
Animal Services supports the
TNVR program and would like to emphasize the following:
- Keep your cat indoors. Sec. 14-63
Domesticated family pet cats are still required to remain indoors and not be allowed outdoors to roam freely. This category of cats is required to have a current county license. It is the county code and your cat’s health and safety is better protected if he or she lives indoors. Coyotes see cats as part of their food chain and will not hesitate to try and catch your pet cat. In general, indoor cats live a longer and healthier life.
- If you own a cat have it spayed or neutered early. Most people are unaware that female kittens can become pregnant as early as 5 months of age. Early spay/neuter is a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted litters.
Please contact Meow Now Pinellas, a community organization that is participating in the TNVR efforts in Pinellas County, for assistance or concerns about a cat colony in your neighborhood.
If you know of free-roaming community cats, please contact MEOW Now at (727) 203-5255 for TNVR services.
Under the TNVR program, individual citizens and groups that provide food and care for feral or "community cats" can legally do so under the new ordinance. TNVR activities and programs are authorized in Pinellas County with the following guidelines:
- Community cat is any feral or free-roaming cat that is cared for by one or more individual caregivers, provided that the cat is sterilized, up to date on rabies vaccination, and distinguished from other cats by being ear-tipped and tattooed.
- Community cats are exempt from the county ordinances for being at large outdoors and being abandoned.
- Community cats are exempt from the county licensing requirement. But caregivers must maintain a record of up-to-date rabies vaccination.
- If a community cat is impounded, it shall be held for seven days including the day of impoundment. A caregiver may redeem a community cat within the holding period upon paying the reclaim fees.
- The first time a community cat is impounded, the community cat will be microchipped and vaccinated for rabies in accordance with the applicable law.
- All community cat locations must be maintained on the private property of the caregiver or on property belonging to another landowner with that landowner’s permission.
- A community cat must not be released within 150 yards of any park, conservation land, beach, wildlife area, day care center, or elementary school.
- Community cats must be provided with basic necessities on a regular and ongoing basis, including but not limited to, proper nutrition and medical care.
- Food must be maintained in proper feeding containers and placed in a manner and for a duration that will not attract wildlife or other animals.
- Water must be provided and must be clean, potable, and free from debris and algae.
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