three outdoor cats with tipped ears snuggling close together


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Community Cats and Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return at Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic

The Richmond SPCA Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic, located at 7088 Mechanicsville Turnpike, opened in 2022. This satellite location provides sterilization services to shelter and rescue organizations and community cat caregivers performing Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR). 

If you have observed a colony of unowned, free-roaming community cats living in your neighborhood, a park, near a dumpster or around a business, there is important information you should know.

Community Cats

Community cats are unowned, free-roaming cats. They live quite independently in an outdoor environment, forming colonies around sources of food, water and shelter. Many are unsocialized to people (feral).

Learn more about the distinctions between “stray” and “feral” as a guide to the best way to help cats found outdoors.


Humane management of community cats is done through an active program of Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR).

Volunteer caretakers humanely trap the cats and bring them to our Smoky’s Spay & Neuter Clinic, where we spay and neuter the cats and vaccinate them against rabies at no charge. While the cats are under anesthesia, we “tip” their left ear as a sign they have been sterilized and vaccinated. Caretakers later return the cats to the only home they have known – the outdoor colony where the cats have been residing. Volunteer caretakers will continue to feed the cats to prevent foraging.

Other undesired behaviors such as yowling during mating, fighting and territorial spraying, are diminished or eliminated once the cats are sterilized. Vaccination for rabies prevents the threat of disease, keeping the cats healthy and the community safe.

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