Pinellas Cats Alive!

June 2024 Program Closures: Tuesday, June 18, and Wednesday, June 19; and Monday, June 24, and Tuesday, June 25. Please do not trap cats for intake these days. Thank you!

Have you noticed some outdoor cats in your neighborhood and thought, "Someone should do something"?

That someone can be you!

Pinellas Cats Alive! is a Friends of Strays return-to-field (RTF) program that provides a lifesaving option for community cats that would have otherwise been euthanized, while continuing to work toward the goal of reducing the overall community cat population. Under the program, community cats that are surrendered to Friends of Strays are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, given basic medical care including flea and tick prevention, and then returned to their communities.

Exciting news! As of July 2023, we have helped 4,000 community cats since the launch of the program!

Program Hours and Information 

  • Friends of Strays accepts community cats 4 months of age and older for surrender Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for major holidays. No appointments necessary. For kittens under four months of age, please contact the shelter at 727-522-6566 for other options.
  • We can accept 2 cats per individual per day at this time. Please make sure each cat is in its own trap.

  • Please trap the night before you plan to bring the cat to Friends of Strays.

  • Cats must be in traps at the time of surrender.  Approved traps include Tru Catch, Havahart, and Tomahawk humane traps.

  • Traps may be rented in advance from Friends of Strays. We require a $75 deposit per trap, which will be refunded when the trap is returned to us. They are available for pickup 7 days a week from 10 am-6 pm. Advance notice is not needed. 

  • Want to save time? You can print and fill out the intake form to bring in with you, so you don't have to fill it out at the shelter! Community Cat Intake Form

What is Return-To-Field (RTF)?

RTF is the widely recognized lifesaving method that avoids euthanasia of healthy yet unadoptable cats. RTF reduces community cat populations through the proven practice of humanely trapping, spaying or neutering, vaccinating, ear tipping, and then returning the feral or free-roaming community cats to their colonies. Because they can no longer breed, the number of cats is reduced naturally over time and nuisance behaviors such as spraying and yowling are typically reduced immediately and eliminated completely only a month after surgery. RTF has been shown to be the least costly, most effective, and most humane way to stabilize free-roaming cat populations.

How to trap a cat:

  1. Line the bottom of the trap with newspaper and place food in the trap as far back as possible. Use potent, tasty food like tuna or wet food as bait and put it on a paper plate. Do not put a can in the trap.You can also dribble food juices leading up to the trap for enticement.
  2. Cover the trap with a blanket, towel, or brush to entice the cat into the trap. This will also keep the cat calmer while in the trap.
  3. If you feed the cat regularly, do NOT feed the cat for 24 to 48 hours prior to setting the trap. The cat is more likely to enter if they are very hungry.
  4. If you catch the wrong cat, or another animal, just let it go. Be sure to stand behind the trap and use a stick to open the trap.
  5. Set the trap the night before surgery, no earlier. Cats are more likely to enter traps at night. Don’t leave the trap unattended and watch from a distance.
  6. Cover the trap completely with a blanket, sheet, or towel as soon as the cat is trapped. Cats can panic and injure themselves, so the cover helps them remain calm.
  7. Once the cat is trapped, move the trap to a safe, climate-controlled location overnight. Do not leave the cat out in the elements, especially if it is overly hot, cold, or wet.

Remember to keep the trap covered at all times to help keep the cat calm.

Questions? Email


Community Cat Intake Form

Pinellas Cats Alive! FAQ
Trapping Instructions
Solutions to Common Community Cat Issues
Tips for Trapping Tough Cats
Resources for Community Cat Caregivers
RTF Impact Study
Instrucciones para "Pinellas Cats Alive" en Español