Free living cats

They are found on feral properties, in abandoned factory sites or in cemeteries – free-living cats usually live without direct contact with humans. They are the offspring of not neutered house cats or also abandoned animals. Many of them are sick, malnourished or injured. Hardly anyone cares about their fate, even though they depend on people's help: As domesticated pets, cats are no longer able to completely care for themselves and their offspring on their own.

Controlled feeding stations

Since many of these very shy animals do not get used to humans, there is only one way to make their lives easier for the animals. The animal welfare associations affiliated to the German Animal Welfare Association therefore take care of free-living cats at controlled feeding stations. These contact points give the animal welfare organizations the possibility to check the number and the state of health of the animals. During neutering campaigns, the cats are caught, medically treated, vaccinated, neutered under anesthesia, marked, registered and then released back into their traditional territory. New arrivals at feeding stations are immediately recognized at controlled feeding stations and also neutered. In this way the free-living cats do not multiply further and further.


Free-roaming cats are originally descended from domesticated domestic cats – so they are not wild animals that can adequately fend for themselves. They are usually dependent on human help. For free-living cats, a responsibility of the municipality as a safety authority occurs if the free-living cat disturbs the general public or z.B. as disease vectors concretely endanger public safety (z. B. by infectious diseases). Sick, half-starved free-living cats represent a "disturbance of public safety and order" – a situation that the municipalities and their responsible authorities must solve with appropriate measures that are suitable for animal welfare and prevent for the future.

The municipalities react very differently to the problem of free-living cats. Some refuse any obligation to help the distressed cats and even impose feeding bans because of "disturbance of public safety and order". On the other hand, more and more municipalities react open-mindedly and seek cooperation with the animal protection associations in order to solve the problems.

Many animal protection associations finance depending upon their possibilities in addition to the castration of the shelter animals also the castration of free living cats. The German Animal Welfare Association cannot subsidize privately organized castrations due to statutory reasons. If animal lovers have agreed to cooperate with an animal welfare association affiliated with us in the neutering and further care of free-living cats, we can support our member association.

During neutering campaigns, free-living cats should be marked with a transponder and registered. The removal of a few millimeters of the left ear tip, the so-called Ear Tipping, is internationally widespread and helps to distinguish the animals already from a distance as neutered animal from other still un-neutered cats. The procedure is performed together with castration under general anesthesia. Is therefore not associated with additional pain for the cats. Legally, however, in Germany it falls under the ban on amputation in the Animal Protection Act. Therefore, planned identification measures in the context of castration campaigns should not be carried out without prior involvement of the competent authority.

Neutering domestic cats

Causes of cat misery also include outdoor cats from private households, which always produce new offspring with free-living cats. Therefore our urgent appeal: Please have your cat or tomcat neutered so that the groups of free-living cats do not continue to grow.

From the point of view of animal protection, farmers – like every other cat owner – are also obliged to feel responsible for their animals and also their offspring in the sense of the animal protection law. This includes species-appropriate care as well as veterinary care in case of illness. Also you should have your cats neutered. Unneutered animals that run around unattended contribute to the misery of the numerous free-living cats through their offspring.

Register cats at FINDEFIX

Free-living cats are offspring of unneutered domestic cats that have not found their way back to their homes. That's why we strongly recommend not only neutering your own cat, but also marking and registering it with a transponder with a microchip – so that it can get back home safely when a finder picks it up again.

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