Homeless Cats in Your Community

Do you need help with a cat or kitten you have found?

Do you need to rehome your pet?

Have questions about feral cats in your neighborhood?

Individual rescuers, members of small rescue groups and members of the public find and rescue about 1/3 of all the animals taken off the city streets each year through adoption, foster and TNR.

BBAWC is a cooperative of some of those individual rescuers who work collectively to support these rescue efforts. We also work to support the efforts of other rescuers and members of the public to support helping the homeless animals in New York City.

We will do our best to provide assistance and support to help with your rescue. We are generally not going to be able to take cats from you – especially if you need to find a place to bring the cat immediately. We are not a traditional shelter so we have extremely limited space and limited staff.

If you can find a friend or family member who can foster – even short term – we want to help you help these vulnerable animals. We can help with support, access to low cost veterinary care and supplies to ensure these animals find adoption homes.

I’ve found a stray cat. What can I do?

  1. The cat may belong to someone in the area. Find out by going door to door, putting up flyers, asking around and posting the cat online. Browse lost listings and post found cats at these two lost cat sites run by NYACC and and, as well as on social media and Next Door. See if the cat has a microchip.
  2. If the cat is being cared for but needs to be spayed/neutered or needs some basic veterinary care, we can help with free or low-cost care. Email
  3. If the cat is afraid of people and keeps a distance or runs away? It may be a feral, community cat and not adoptable. Please see the section about helping feral cats.
  4. If the cat is friendly, you can pet it, pick him up and wants contact with people, we can try to take the cat into our foster network and find it a home, or you can foster the cat and we will list it for adoption. Email for more details. Please include the neighborhood where you found the cat. If you are contacting us about kittens, please send photos.

How to help “feral” community cats (cats that are unhabituated or unsocialized to people).

The best approach to feral community cats is Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR). Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped and sterilized, given vaccines and basic wellness care, and then placed back into the community in which they were living. Volunteer caretakers then provide food, water and clean, unobtrusive shelters for the cats.
Where to find a TNR workshop and learn more:
Neighborhood Cats TNR Workshops
NYC Feral Cat Initiative TNR Workshops
Alley Cat Allies

Is the cat you found already ear-tipped?

You can also email for more details.

An ear-tip is when the left tip of the ear was removed during a spay/neuter surgery. The left ear will appear “square” shaped and shorter than the right ear (top cat in picture on bottom/right). An ear-tip indicates that an outdoor, community cat has already been spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies. If the ear-tipped cat looks healthy there’s a chance someone is feeding her. But if she looks hungry or comes around regularly, consider providing her with daily food and water and setting up a winter shelter for her.
Neighborhood Cats Winter Shelter Resources
NYC Feral Cat Initiative Winter Shelter Resources

I’ve found kittens! What can I do?

If the kittens’ eyes are closed and/or they are unable to walk and they are quiet, leave them alone. The mother/queen is likely nearby finding food and could be gone for several hours. If the kittens are meowing, stay a good distance away (30 feet or more) and check to see if the mother arrives. If the kittens are still meowing after several hours and there is no sign of the mother, collect the kittens, and keep them warm. Never give them milk! Email for more information about how to care for them properly.

Beyond the age of 8 weeks, kittens who were born to a feral mother, will be more difficult to socialize to humans. It can be done but will take time and effort. For feral kittens that are beyond the age of socialization, TNR is also an option. Please see above about TNR and helping feral cats.

I need to give up my pet

If it’s absolutely necessary for you to surrender your pet, we can help you rehome them, either by finding them a home while you foster them, or taking them into our foster network and finding them a home from there. However, please read the below before contacting us about surrendering your pet.

First, is there a way you can keep your pet?
The city animal shelter system, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) offers a variety of resources to assist pet owners in keeping their pets. Resources include:

  • Reduced fee routine veterinary care including spay/neuter
  • Funding for emergency veterinary care
  • Behavior advice and trainer referrals
  • Reduced fee pet boarding
  • Assistance with tenant/landlord disputes, including NYCHA issues
  • Assistance for individuals entering DHS temporary housing
  • Assistance for military deployment

To find out if ACC can help support you in keeping your pet, please contact them about your situation. 212-788-4000,

If you are a senior or someone with an illness or disability, and you are struggling with the day to day care of your pet, then PAWS NY might be able to assist. Please note their focus is on physical assistance, and they are unable to provide financial assistance.

If you absolutely cannot keep your pet, contact the original rescue group from which you adopted your pet. Most rescue groups will take back animals they adopted out.

If none of the above works, please email us at We have a set of basic veterinary requirements before we take in or list cats. We will need medical records from you. The cat will need to be spayed/neutered and will need exams, vaccines and tests up to date. We can provide those services at a deep discount. If the cat needs extra veterinary care, such as dental work or surgery, we would ask you to donate or to help fundraise to cover the costs.

You can also contact other rescues at the links at the bottom of the page. Or contact Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) the city shelter to surrender your pet there.

An animal shelter is a stressful place for animals. Your pet will suddenly be exposed to stress and fear as well as illness from other animals, and may not cope well; he or she may begin to display behavioral issues such as anxiety or aggression; and may develop health issues; all of which can make adoption difficult and sometimes impossible. It is possible that your beloved pet could be euthanized. On the other hand, ACC has relationships with over 200 rescue groups, and highly adoptable pets often have good outcomes. You can ask them to keep you informed of what happens to your pet.
Before you take your pet to the shelter, please read the links below
Rehome Your Pet
How to surrender your pet to ACC

Additional Resources

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) is the city shelter with locations in all five boroughs. Please call ACC at 212-788-4000 AND call 311. They may come get the cat but it may take a long time and on weekends they probably won’t come. If you take the cat to ACC you can get an intake number for the cat and we will help you monitor the cats status in the shelter. ACC has relationships with over 200 rescue groups that the cat may be transferred to if treatable and adoptable.

If there are orphaned kittens and they are under 8 weeks old and it is business hours, email the ASPCA kitten nursery to see if they can take them.

You can try rescues directly:

For more information about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Feral Cats please contact these organizations::
Neighborhood Cats 662-5761 / (808) 755-9393
New York City Feral Cat Initiative E-mail: info@NYCFeralCat.orgPhone: (212) 330-0033
Other TNR organizations can be found here.