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Outdoor Cat Colonies

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Be part of the solution

Community Feral Cat Pilot Program

In response to feedback from residents, the City of Tempe is launching a limited pilot program in 4 neighborhoods that is currently only open to residents living in those specific areas. The pilot program will educate neighborhoods about feral cats, including best practices for colony management and ways to reduce the negative impact these cats can have on a neighborhood. For those neighborhoods who participate in the pilot, local rescue organizations have agreed to provide trap-neuter-return (TNR) services for the entire local colony.

For more information, contact Kristin Gwinn, Council Aide at or 480-350-8916.

2017 update on Tempe-specific TNR fund

feral cat colony

The city's agreement with the Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA) created a Tempe-specific donation fund for Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programs.

223 cats were TNR'd

236 total cats to clinic (13 previously sterilized. 1 of those was Returned to owner because it was microchipped)

107 males

116 females

What you can do

Residents or businesses can donate to the Tempe-specific fund by contacting the ADLA at 602-265-7729, ext. 101, or For more information, contact Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311, visit or check out the ADLA’s website at To request assistance with TNR services, visit:

Background and trap, neuter, release information 

Tempe residents have voiced concerns about outdoor cat colonies and the issues that arise as a result. Some of the most common concerns include:

  • Fighting, howling or spraying
  • Animal waste
  • Kittens
  • Attracting unwanted wildlife

In response to these concerns, the City of Tempe began working in cooperation with the Animal Defense League of Arizona (ADLA).   As a part of this cooperation, complaints about outdoor cats made to the city will be referred to ADLA for potential trap, neuter and return (TNR) services. 

TNR involves the humane capture of feral cats, followed by spaying and neutering and then returning them back to the same place where they were captured.  

TNR is quickly becoming recognized as the most effective approach to decreasing free-roaming cat populations.  Because free-roaming cats are sterilized in large numbers, TNR reduces the number of kittens born and, over time, reduces the size of a community’s free-roaming cat population.  

This also results in a decreased flow of cats and kittens into local shelters, helping to lessen overcrowding.  In addition, shelters save costs and staff time because fewer cats need to be housed, euthanized and disposed of afterwards.  

It is important cats are returned to their original territory rather than released in any location.  If placed in unfamiliar territory, free-roaming cats may try to go back to their established colony and become lost.  In addition, releasing cats at a location where they will not necessarily be provided with ongoing care may be considered a form of abandonment. 

The City of Tempe will not be providing these services, but will refer all feral cat complaints to ADLA, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  

On June 4, 2015, the City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the ADLA which provides that not only will the ADLA will act as the city’s referral service, but it also will establish a Tempe-specific donation fund and use those funds exclusively for TNR in Tempe.  Residents, neighborhood groups and businesses will be able to donate to this fund which will used to assist with TNR services in the City of Tempe.  

Additional resources

ADLA: 602-265-SPAY (7729)
Click here for a printable flyer. 


It is very important for pet owners to ensure their pets have microchips, especially if they spend time outdoors. Several non-profit agencies provide this service for a minimal cost:

Humane Society: $20 at vaccination clinics

Maricopa County Animal Control: Three Valley locations