Community Cats

Fort Wayne's Animal Welfare Coalition, consisting of Humane Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, is a one-of-a-kind collaboration to save lives. The coalition was formed when the Community Cat program became a city ordinance in 2014. Since then thousands of lives have been saved and the program has grown exponentially.


What is a Community Cat? 

Any outdoor free roaming cat that has been evaluated and sterilized by a licensed veterinarian, ear tipped, vaccinated for rabies, microchipped, documented with our Department and released back into the area from which it was captured.

What are the Provisions of the Community Cat Program?

Free roaming cats without acceptable identification which have been impounded or trapped in the community may be deemed a potential Community Cat by our Department based on age, health, and behavior. Once evaluated, such cats may receive services from our Coalition partners. Based on the availability of grant money or an individual's own finances, HOPE for Animals may alter, rabies vaccinate, ear tip for visual identification each community cat. The Allen County SPCA will transport such cats for reintegration back into the community from where they were found or for placement in a barn cat program that they administer. A cat identified as an existing Community Cat may be immediately returned to the community and exempted from the legal hold period.


How Can I Be Sure My Cat Isn't Mistaken for a Community Cat?

The best protection is to keep your cats inside and use proper identification in the form of a city pet registration tag and a pet microchip. Make sure you keep your pet's identification current to the address where you currently reside. Should you move, contact our department to update your information. Should you give your pet away, transfer the microchip and registration information to the new owner of the animal. A cat that is found with proper identification will be held at the shelter for the normal hold period while we trace the identification and make every effort to notify the owner that the lost pet has been found. If your OWNED cat is an indoor/outdoor cat be sure it has identifying tags and talk to your veterinarian about getting a microchip!


What is a Community Cat Provider?

A person who provides food, water, shelter or otherwise cares for Community Cats and complies with pdfAdministrative Rules for Community Cat Providers. A person so identified shall not be considered the Owner or Harborer of a Community Cat.

What is Ear Tipping?
The straight-line cutting of the tip of the left ear of a cat while it is anesthetized in order to identify the cat as a Community Cat.


What is a Free Roaming Cat?

Any cat not restrained and without acceptable identification

What if a Community Cat is a Nuisance in My Neighborhood?

Animal Care & Control may impound Community Cats which are public nuisances, diseased, or not thriving due to loss of resources. The Department shall coordinate with partnering Animal Welfare Organizations and/or veterinarians to offer resource information for establishing opportunities for Community Cats, Community Cat Providers, humane deterrents, and advice regarding Community Cat nuisances.


What is Required of a Community Cat Provider?

There isn't an application process, but you must comply with pdfAdministrative Rules for Community Cat Providers to prevent nuisance problems that could be reported for enforcement action.

  1. Confine free roaming cats and arrange for surgical sterilization, ear tipping, and vaccination for rabies by a licensed veterinarian, microchipping and documentation of the foregoing with our Department prior to release back to the community;

  2. Seek veterinary care at your own expense for a Community Cat which appears to require medical attention for serious illness or injury; Coordinate with an Animal Welfare Organization or the Department to arrange for impound of the sick or injured cat for euthanasia.

  3. Make reasonable effort to work with the Department or designated Animal Welfare Organization to resolve nuisance complaints using humane deterrents and/or removal of Community Cats identified as a Public Nuisance; and

  4. Community Cat Providers found to be in violation of this Chapter or managing an excess number of Community Cats as determined by our Department may have their Community Cat Provider designation revoked at the discretion of the Department.

  5. It shall be unlawful to provide food, water, or shelter to Free Roaming cats in excess of thirty (30) days unless the provider presents acceptable documentation showing implementation of the requirements of a Community Cat Provider.

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For additional information on the Community Cat ordinance call our business office at 260-427-1244 option 1.

Build a Shelter for Community Cats

With bitterly cold temperatures, consider building a shelter for community cats in your area. Below is an easy guide! Click here for more tips on how to protect community cats this winter. 

Adoption Lobby Hours:

12:00 - 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
12:00 - 6:00 p.m. Wednesday

Adoption Office: 260-427-5502

Closed Mondays FOR ADOPTIONS
To submit a pet adoption profile, you must do so 15-minutes before closing to allow sufficient time for processing. If you are interested in adopting a dog, please bring your dogs with you to the shelter for a meet-and-greet.

Business Office Hours (lost & found- receiving lobby- citations or other law enforcement concerns):

11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
CLOSED Saturday & Sunday

Animal Control Officer Assistance
9am-8pm Monday - Friday
After 8pm, weekend & holidays,
call 260-449-3000

After Hours / immediate officer assistance:
1:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. Emergencies

General Contact Information:
Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control
3020 Hillegas Road
Fort Wayne IN 46808
After 8 p.m. and on weekends and holidays, call 449-3000 for assistance.
Fax: 260-427-5514



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