Cat Information

Lane County has a large stray and feral cat population.  It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 stray or feral cats in our area.  
Information about Greenhill Humane Society's Trap-Neuter Return Program

Please be responsible pet owners, have your cats spayed or neutered to reduce the number of unwanted kittens.  Microchip your cats so they can be returned home if found/picked up by a concerned citizen.

Currently, Lane County does not have any cat ordinances.

Lane County Animal Services provides services for the unincorporated areas of Lane County.  


Stray Cats: Rules and Recommendations

Stray-Found:  Although a cat "just shows up" on your property, once you assume responsibility for the animal by feeding and caring for it, after a period of time, it is no longer stray.  A cat is legally owned after the finder has cared for it for six weeks.  View information about your responsibilities here.  LCAS does not pick up stray or unwanted cats unless they are seriously ill or injured. 

Owned-Found:  It is unlawful to keep or dispose of a cat that has a known owner.  Harboring or disposing of a cat that has an owner could result in a charge of theft against you.  If you find a cat that appears to be owned the best thing to do is leave it where you found it so that it can find its way home.

Information on feral (wild) cats.

Link to Greenhill Humane Society

Feral Cats

What is a Feral Cat?

Feral cats are members of the domestic cat species, but are not socialized to humans and are therefore not adoptable.  Cats have been living outdoors near humans for more than 10,000 years.  They typically live in groups called colonies and have strong social bonds with their colony members.

So, you're seeing cats in your yard...  Like all animals, feral cats make their home where they find shelter and food, often in close proximity to humans.  We understand that not everyone enjoys having cats in their yard, and these simple tips will help divert outdoor cats away from certain areas.  You may want the cats to stick around; some ideas below will help make areas attractive to the cats.  Coupled with Trap-Neuter-Return and ongoing care, these quick steps can help you coexist with your neighborhood cats!

5 easy steps for deterring cat behaviors

1. Talk to your neighbors.  Determine whether the cat is a pet, stray or feral, and if he has been neutered.  If not, get it done!

2. Apply nontoxic deterrents around your yard.

3. Put a tight lid on your trash can.

4. Block gaps in the foundation of your house, plus all sheds and outbuildings.

5. Use a car cover.

Because feral cats are not socialized and not adoptable, they do not belong in animal shelters, where they will be euthanized.  Instead, feral cats should be neutered, vaccinated and returned to their territory.  Lane County Animal Services no longer takes in feral cats.  Instead, we have teamed up with Greenhill Humane Society and the local veterinary community to create the Feral Fix Program.  For more information on this Trap-Neuter-Return program please call Greenhill Humane Society at 541-689-1503 extension 140 or visit their website.

Trap-Neuter-Return is an effective and humane way to stabilize feral cat populations.  Cats are humanely trapped and taken to Greenhill Humane Society, where they are neutered and then returned to their colony site. 

The Vacuum Effect - Animal control's traditional approach to feral cats - catch and kill - won't keep an area free of cats for long.  Catch and kill is cruel, inhumane, and creates a vacuum, as do attempts to "relocate" cats.  Known as the vacuum effect, this is a documented phenomenon in a variety of animal species throughout the world.  Once the cats are removed from a territory, other cats move in to take advantage of the newly available resources and breed, forming a new colony.  Catch and kill is an endless and costly cycle.

Discover the Truth about Feral Cats

A feral cat is not socialized to humans.  Though feral cats are members of the domestic cat species and are protected under state anti-cruelty laws, they are typically fearful of humans.

Feral cats should not be taken to animal control shelters.  Feral cats' needs are not met by the current shelter systems, because animals who are not adoptable are euthanized.  Feral cats live outside, but are killed in shelters.  Even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes.

Feral kittens can be adopted.  Feral kittens can often be adopted into homes, but they must be socialized at an early age.  There is a critical window, and if they aren't handled in time, they will remain feral and therefore unadoptable.

Feral cats can have the same lifespan as pet cats.  And they are just as healthy, too.  The incidence of disease in feral cats is just as low as in pet cats.  They live healthy, natural lives on their own, content in their outdoor home.

Catch and kill doesn't work!!! This endless cycle is extremely costly to taxpayers.  Cats choose to reside in locations for two reasons:  there is a food source - (intended or not) - and shelter.  When cats are removed from a location, survivors breed to capacity or new cats move in.  This vacuum effect is well documented.

Trap-Neuter-Return does work.  No more kittens.  The population stabilizes and their lives are improved.  The behaviors and stresses associated with mating, such as yowling or fighting stop.  Not only does Trap-Neuter-Return make good sense, it is also a responsible, humane method of care for outdoor cats.

You can make a difference and save lives.  Together, we can educate people about feral cats and the fact that they don't belong in pounds and shelters.  To learn more or to find tools to help you spread the word in your area, go to

How to live with cats in your neighborhood

Easy Solutions to Cat Behavior

We understand not everyone enjoys having cats in their yards, and these simple tips will help you divert outdoor cats away from certain areas. 

Cats are getting into my trash  - Cats are scavengers and are looking for food.
Quick Solutions:
  • Place a tight lid on your trash can.  Exposed trash bags will attract wildlife as well.
  • See if neighbors are feeding the cats.  If they are, make sure they are doing it on a regular schedule.
  • Start feeding the cats yourself if you find no regular feeder - at a set time, during daylight hours, in an out-of-the-way place.  Feeding cats regularly and in reasonable quantities, which can be consumed in less than 30 minutes or so, will help ensure they don't get so hungry they turn to your trash.
There are cat paw prints and/or scratches on my car - Cats like to perch on high ground  Quick Solutions:
  • Gradually move cats' shelters and feeding stations away to discourage cats from climbing on cars or other private property.
  • Purchase an appropriate cover for the car or other vehicle.

Cats are digging in my garden
 - It is a cat's natural instinct to dig and deposit in soft or loose soil, moss, mulch, or sand.  Quick Solutions:
  • Scatter fresh orange and lemon peels or spray with citrus-scented fragrances.  Coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, or oil of lavender, lemongrass, citronella, or eucalyptus also deter cats.
  • Plant the herb rue to repel cats, or sprinkle dried rue over the garden.
  • Use plastic carpet runners spike-side up, covered lightly in soil.  They can be found at local hardware or office supply stores.  Or, set chicken wire firmly into the dirt with sharp edges rolled under.
  • Artfully arrange branches in a lattice-type pattern or wooden or plastic lattice fencing material over soil.  You can disguise these by planting flowers and seeds in the openings.  You can also try embedding wooden chopsticks, pinecones, or sticks with dull points deep into the soil with the tops exposed eight inches apart.
  • Obtain Cat Scat, a nonchemical cat and wildlife repellent consisting of plastic mats that are cut into smaller pieces and pressed into the soil.  Each mat has flexible plastic spikes that are harmless to cats and other animals, but discourages digging.  Available at
  • Cover exposed ground in flower beds with large, attractive river rocks to prevent cats from digging.  (They have the added benefit of deterring weeds.)
  • Establish a litter box by tilling the soil or placing sand in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard.  Keep it clean and free of deposits.
  • Use an aromatic spray product, such as Dog and Cat Repellent, available at

Cats are Lounging in my yard or on my porch - Cats are territorial and will remain close to their food source.  Quick Solutions:
  • Apply cat repellent liberally around the edges of the yard, the tops of fences, and on any favorite digging areas or plants.  Available at pet supply stores.  
  • Install an ultrasonic animal repellent or a motion-activated water sprinkler, such as the ScarCrow or CatStop. 

Cats are sleeping under my porch or in my shed
 - The cats are looking for a dry, warm shelter away from the elements.  Quick Solutions:


The cats are looking for a dry, warm shelter away from the elements.  Quick Solutions:
  • Physically block or seal the location the cats are entering with chicken wire or lattice once you are certain the cats are not inside.  Be sure to search for kittens before confirming that the cats have left - especially during spring, prime kitten season. 

  • Provide a shelter (similar to a small doghouse).  Or, if they are feral and part of a nearby managed colony, ask the caretaker to provide a shelter for the cats.  Shelters should be hidden to keep the cats safe, and placing them well can help guide the cats away from unwanted areas.

Feeding the cats attracts insects and wildlife - Cats need to be fed under proper guidelines.  Leaving food out can attract animals.  Quick Solutions:

  • Keep the feeding area neat and free of leftover food and trash.
  • Feed cats at the same designated time each day, during daylight hours.  They should be given only enough food for them to finish in one sitting, and all remaining food should be removed after 30 minutes.  If another person is feeding, ask them to follow these guidelines too.  For a more thorough list of colony management guidelines visit

Cats are yowling, fighting, spraying, roaming, and having more kittens - These are all mating behaviors displayed by cats that have not been spayed and neutered, and they will breed prolifically.  Quick Solutions:
  • Spaying or neutering and vaccinating the cats will reduce the sex-drive hormones causing these behaviors.  Male cats will stop competing and fighting, spraying, and roaming.  Females will stop yowling and producing kittens.  After sterilization, hormones leave their system within three weeks and the behaviors usually stop entirely.
  • To combat the urine smell, spray the area thoroughly with white vinegar or with products that use natural enzymes to combat the smell, such as Nature's Miracle or Simple Solution, available at pet supply stores.

For more information on Cats visit

General Cat Training

Positive Reinforcement Training  We all like to be praised rather than punished.  The same is true for your pet, and that's the theory behind positive reinforcement...

Cat Manners 
Before your get a new kitten or adopt an adult cat, make sure you complete your education about kitty education.  If you are already living with an untrained cat with existing problems, simply designate today as the first day at Kitty College for both of you...

Introducing Your New Cat to Your Other Pets  Wouldn't it be nice if all it took to introduce a new cat to your resident pet were a brief handshake and a couple of "HELLO, My Name Is..." name tags?  Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple, which means you'll need to have some realistic expectations from the outset...

Understanding Your Kitten's Behavior and Development  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, especially for cats.  The fact is, well-socialized cats are more likely to have well-socialized kittens.  Kittens often mirror their mothers' calm or fearful attitudes towards people...

Introducing Your New Cat to the Litter Box  Most of us know cats are finicky eaters, but they can also be pretty picky when it comes to the other end of the digestive process - making use of a litter box.  Fortunately, the following suggestions should keep your cat from "thinking outside the box."...

Solving Cat Behavior Problems

Solving Litter Box Problems  If you're having a hard time persuading your cat to head for the litter box when it's appropriate, it may be time to draw a line in the sand.  Most cats prefer eliminating on a loose, grainy substance, which is why they quickly learn to use a litter box.  But when their preferences include the laundry basket, the bed, or the Persian rug, you may find yourself with a difficult problem...

Solving Aggression Between Family Cats  If the battles between your feline family members are anything like the struggle between Cain and Able, there are a few things you can do to prevent the "sibling rivalry" from reaching biblical proportions...

Reducing Your Cat's Fearful Behavior  Fight, Flee or Freeze.  No, it isn't the latest game show sweeping the nation.  Instead, these three "f's" describe the ways that cats usually respond to objects, persons, or situations they perceive as a threat...

Destructive Scratching  Although some people think a cat's scratching behavior is a reflection of her distaste for a couch's upholstery, a not-so-subtle hint to open the drapes, or a poorly conceived Zorro impersonation, the fact is that cats scratch objects in their environment for many perfectly normal reasons.

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