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What are Community Cats?

Always wondered what a community cat is? We've got you covered! Community cats are outdoor, free-roaming felines that thrive in neighborhoods. They be called outdoor cats, alley cats, feral cats or barn cats. These felines may or may not be friendly or unsocialized. There are circumstances where community cats may roam in packs. However, they thrive on a solitary life-style in many environments. 

What do community cats look like?

One key factor that easily identifies community cats is their ear. An ear-tipped feline is commonly known as a community cat. This occurs when the tip of the ear is removed from a cat that has been sterilized.


This is the universal symbol to identify these felines out in the community. It is harmless and only done while the feline is in surgery. The cat doesn't feel a thing! 

Think you found a community cat?

Let's be honest, cats are everywhere! So what should you do if you see a cat that might fall into the category of "community cat?" Short answer - leave them be! These guys know their way around the neighborhood and most likely already have a caretaker or two in the area. 


As long as you see an ear-tip, it is safe to assume that feline has been spayed or neutered. Community cats from RGVHS are microchipped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and receive an overall health assessment. Different areas may provide different services.

Are there benefits to community cats?

Now that you know what to look out for, let's talk about the overall benefits to community cats! Felines are capable of reproducing at incredibly fast rates. Their heat cycles can occur every 14-21 days. This alone is shocking and when you add in the year round warm climate in the Rio Grande Valley, there's practically nothing stopping the overpopulation of stray/community cats. 


This is where the community cat program steps in. By sterilizing and releasing community cats, this allows the population to be controlled and ensure a live outcome for the animal. Thanks to this program, cats are not only saved but the environment they are picked up from now has stability on the the cat population. What's even better? These cats already have caretakers! They roam their neighborhood and have a family or two that keeps an eye on them. 

Key Benefits of Community Cat Programs

  • Sterilization of felines is an immediate and permanent reduction of the population.

  • Community cats are vaccinated upon arrival. This reduces the spread of diseases and increases the overall health of cats in their area. 

  • Euthanasia is NOT the solution. These lives are saves! They are able to live their natural life in their environment without having to worry about unwanted litters. 

Not a fan of cats in your area?


We understand not everyone enjoys seeing cats in their area. The reality is cats are everywhere! They are natural hunters, adapt incredibly well and are a part of our natural ecosystem. Cats do not stay in one spot. They are natural roamers and tend to have a wide radius of territory. This can be as far as 1500 feet to up to 150 acres! Chances are you have a handful of community cats in your area you haven't even seen yet!


Now we know cats can get into places where they aren't welcome. Here are a few humane and effective steps that can be taken to deter cats from your area.

Cats getting in your trash?

  • Chances are they are hungry and looking for their next meal! If you are unable to provide a few scraps, ensure your trash cans are secure and placed in an area where they cannot be tipped over.

Cats reorganizing your garden?

  • Our feline friends sure love to add a little spice to gardens! It is a natural instinct for cats to kneed their paws on the soft soil, moss, mulch, sand or whatever material you use for your yard. They love a good patch of soft flowers and grass too! So what can you do?

    • Scatter fresh orange/lemon peels, wet coffee grounds or vinegar.​

    • Create a boarder around your garden with chicken wire, branches/sticks, wooden/plastic fencing, etc.

    • Use motion activated sprinklers! Many cats are not a fan of water and will be easily deterred when surprised by a few droplets of water. 

    • Cover your exposed ground in your garden with decor, such as river rocks to prevent digging. 

Cats lounging at your house?

  • Felines love a good nap and won't shy away from getting comfortable in a strangers yard. It may not be ideal for every household, here's what you can do! 

    • If you are a caretaker, try relocating where you are doing feedings. Cats are quick learners and will adjust to a new feeding area in no time!​

    • Apply cat deterring fragrances to the areas where cats linger. These may be purchased at local feed, garden supply and pet stores.

    • Use an ultrasonic deterrent. Humane products are available online or at local shops.

Cats keeping you up at night?

  • Do you get interrupted by random hissing and yowling sounds that you didn't even know a cat could make? Chances are those felines are fighting or in the middle of a baby making dance. Either way, there are solutions! 

    • Take a glimpse and see if there's an ear tip on those guys! If there is none, consider getting them spayed/neutered and released back into the community. ​

    • Male cats tend to be territorial and will wake up a whole neighborhood at 3am without hesitation. Neutered (male) cats tend to show a decrease in aggression and roaming for mates. Try getting them in to get fixed at a local clinic as soon as possible! 

    • Leave no trace of food in your area. Cats will visit at night and are not afraid to yowl at any animals they meet on their way there. 

    • Make sure your area has natural, humane deterrents.

Please conduct your own research when it comes to deterring felines. There are many articles available with more information on humane ways to avoid having cats in your area. Don't forget that they are free-roaming animals and are simply living their natural life around you.

How Can You Help?

If you have a caretaker(s) in your neighborhood, please kindly thank them for all that they do. It isn't easy! Community cats have a fighting chance thanks to the spay/neuter program and the amazing people that ensure they have food in their bellies and a safe place to rest. 

Consider donating food, volunteering your time or simply stopping by to say thank you to your local cat caretakers. It is a joy to see many cats thriving outside of shelters that can now live their natural lives outside of steel walls. 


Inspired to do more? Contact us! The RGV Humane Society welcomes advocates with open arms and is happy to help in any way we can! Below is a list of vaccinations and services we provide on a monthly basis at our Low-Cost Community Clinics.

We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know of any upcoming clinics!

What Services Do We Offer?

  • Low-Cost Veterinary Care and Spay/Neuter Services
    RGVHS Monthly Public Community Clinic Border Animal Hospital Paws and Claws Veterinary Clinic Laguna Madre Humane Society San Benito Animal Hospital RGV Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic Texas Wellness Spay and Neuter Clinic Banfield Pet Hospital - McAllen Banfield Pet Hospital - McAllen North Brownsville Spay/Neuter Clinic Weekend Vet The Country Vet Pet Doctor 911
  • Facebook Rehome Groups
    Rehoming a pet straight from your home to another home is always the best option for the pet whether this pet is your own personal pet or a pet you found . This prevents the pet from ever having to enter the shelter system, an experience that can be stressful to the pet and increase the risk of disease transmission. We’d first recommend reaching out to family and friends to see if anybody can take over the pets care, or to post clear photos/videos of them on Facebook in one of the groups listed below. These groups are filled with animal rescues, fosters, and potential adopters looking to add a new pet to their family. Any information you can provide about their character or behaviors (good with dogs, cats, kids, house trained) is important to share as well! These are the best options for this pet because they keep him or her out of the shelter setting, guarantee a live outcome, and limit the risk of them picking up diseases. Check out these pages and give it a try! RGVHS Reunite & Rehome, Harlingen Lost & Found Pets, Harlingen/San Benito Lost & Found-Pets, RGV Pets, RGV Kitty Lovers, RGV (rehome/adopt), RGV pet alert rescue and adoption, Its All About the Animals (RGV),
  • Additional Rescue Organizations in the RGV
    Ana’s Safe Haven Cinderella Pet Rescue PawStories Forgotten Friends Texas Rescue RGV Recycled Rovers and Friends Donja’s Dogs Brownsville Animal Defense
  • Pet Food Banks
    We recommend calling ahead to make sure the pet food you need is available. Rio Grande Valley Humane Society Pet Pantry 1106 Markowsky Ave, Harlingen, TX 78550 (956)425-7297 *Pet pantry supply relies on donations. RGVHS does not guarantee that there will always be food available to give out to the community. Food for Hunger WME 1115 S Maryland St, Alton, TX 78573 (956) 585-9966 San Benito Food Pantry, Inc 2007 E Expressway, San Benito, TX 78586 (956) 399-1659
  • Pet Health Online Resources
    Best Friends Vet Access App for Telemedicine Best Friends Animal Society Resources on Dog Health Best Friends Animal Society Resources on Cat Health Options for Heartwork Prevention for Dogs Options for Flea and Tick Prevention
  • Financing for Veterinary Costs
    Organizations That Provide Credit and/or Loans Care Credit Veterinary FinancingThis healthcare credit card gives you the flexibility to pay for pet medical bills ranging from routine appointments to emergency surgeries. ScratchpayApply for a payment plan and scratchpay will pay your vet bill immediately. You can pay them back in 30 days without interest, or over a 12 to 24-month period with a personalized interest rate based on your financial profile. Varidi Online payment platform that makes it easy for veterinarians to offer payment plans. There is no credit check or credit reporting - you just negotiate a payment plan with the business. Organizations That Provide Financial Aid United States Department of Veteran AffairsIf you’re a veteran with a service dog, the VA will cover the cost of veterinary care (doesn’t cover unrelated costs such as over-the-counter medications, food, treats and non-sedated dental care). Friends and Vets Helping PetsFunds treatments for curable (lifesaving, not life-prolong) diseases such as tumors, broken bones, ambulatory care, expensive medication, or post-surgical prosthetics such as a K-9 cart. Paws 4 A CureThis organization helps cats and dogs regardless of breed, age, or diagnosis. Pet “parents” with limit ability to pay for care may qualify for assistance with vet bills. The Pet FundHelps pet owner pay for non-basic, non-urgent care for chronic conditions, heart disease, and cancer. Diabetic Cats in NeedOffers financial aid for insulin, helps find new homes for unwanted cats with diabetes, and starts local rescue programs to help diabetic cats get adopted. Magic Bullet FundFinancial Assistance for cats and dogs with cancer. For those financially unprepared to pay for their dog’s or cat’s cancer treatment. This nonprofit aims to close the gap. The Mosby FoundationWorking to help neglected, sick, and abused dogs since 2003. Dog owners can apply to have procedures and treatments covered. However, the foundation cannot help with vet bills already accrued. The Onyx and Breezy FoundationHelping dogs and cats live happy lives through funding for spay and neuter programs, rescuing animals from kill shelters, support for cancer research and much more. Hope Mending Hearts FoundationFinancial assistance grants so pet owners, Good Samaritans and rescuers can care for animals who need urgent veterinary care. Red Rover Relief Grants Pet Assistance, IncIn event of an emergency, this organization offers immediate financial assistance for veterinary care. RedRover responds to applications within two business days. Help-a-Pet American Humane Society - Second Chance Fund Aid Specific to Cancer Stymie Canine Cancer Foundation – APPLICATION BY VET The Riedel & Cody Fund – MUST APPLY ONLINE Live Like Roo – MUST APPLY ONLINE Aid Specific to Mobility Handicapped Pets FoundationProvides dog wheelchairs Red Flyer, the Handicapped Pets CommunityLoans refurbished wheelchairs Crowd-Funding Veterinary Costs Plumfund Cofund my Pet Waggle Pet Insurance 24 Pet Watch AKC Pet Insurance ASPCA Pet Insurance Embrace Pet Insurance Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Nationwide Pet Insurance Pet First Pet Plan Pets Best Pet Premium Trupanion
  • Housing Assistance
    Tips for finding pet friendly rentals Military Pets: Animal Placement during Deployment Dogs on Deployment, temporary foster homes for pets during deployments Pact for Animals, Military Foster Program Escaping Domestic Violence Grant Assistance Pit Bull Insurance and housing resources
  • Local Training & Behavior Resources
    Training Resources Local Training Services: Find a Certified Dog Trainer near you Petco Dog Training The RGV K9 Training Centre and K9 on Patrol Services Smarty Paws RGV Dog Training PSP K9 International K&B Dog Learning Center PetSmart Dog Training K9 Consultants
  • Online Training & Behavior Resources
    Dogs: Best Friends Animal Society Dog Training Resources Dog Training by Kikopup YouTube Zac George’s Dog Training YouTube Dog Escapes: How to Keep Dogs from Getting Away Types of Reward and How to Reward How To: Redirect, Substitute and Reward Positive Reinforcement Dog Training ASPCA Dog Care Cats: Best Friends Animal Society Cat Health and Behavior Resources Cat Not Using Litter Box, Causes and Solutions Cat Marking and Spraying Cat Behavior Associates Jackson Galaxy Behavior Resources and Tips ASPCA Cat Care Cats and Allergies Living with Cat Allergies
  • Lost Pet Assistance
    Finding Rover - Pet Facial Recognition Next Door - Connect with your neighborhood via social media Groups & Pages on Facebook: RGVHS Reunite & Rehome RGV Pet Alert Lost and Found RGV Lost and Found Pets Lost and Found Pets of the RGV RGV Kitty lovers (lost, found, rehome) Harlingen, TX - Lost Dogs, Cats & Pets Harlingen Lost & Found Pets McAllen lost and found pets
  • Rehoming Your Pet Assistance
    Rehoming assistance websites: Helpful resources: Rehoming guidance from Best Friends Animal Society How to Write a pet adoption bio Rehoming a special needs pet

Dog Services


$26  Rabies, DHPPV 

$36  Rabies, DHPPV, Bordatella

$40  2 Month Flea & Tick

$60  3 Month Flea & Tick 

$75  4 Month Flea & Tick

$95  5 Month Flea & Tick

$110  6 Month Flea & Tick

$10  2 Month Heartworm Prevention    

$15  3 Month Heartworm Prevention

$21  4 Month Heartworm Prevention

$27  5 Month Heartworm Prevention

$30  6 Month Heartworm Prevention

Single Items

$10  Microchip

$12  Rabies Vaccine

$10  Rabies Metal Tag

$15  Cat FVRCP Vaccine

$15  Dog DHPPV Vaccine

$15  Dog Bordetella Vaccine

$15  Dewormer

$25  1 Month Flea & Tick Prevention

$6    1 Month Heartworm Prevention

$27 5 Month Heartworm Prevention

$30 6 Month Heartworm Prevention

Cat Services


$26  Rabies, FVRCP

$40  2 Month Flea & Tick 

$60  3 Month Flea & Tick  

$75  4 Month Flea & Tick

$95  5 Month Flea & Tick

$110  6 Month Flea & Tick



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