Managed Shelter Admission and Views on Community Cats

The York County SPCA is currently asking residents of York County to schedule an appointment if they wish to surrender a pet. Stray dogs are accepted during our open hours, from 8am-4pm. Stray cats showing signs of ownership (collar, tags, spayed or neutered without an ear tip, etc.), or that appear ill or injured can be surrendered as well.

Healthy free-roaming community cats should not be brought to the shelter for surrender, as this is not in their best interest.  Simply removing cats from the area without addressing their ability to reproduce is not effective – the food and shelter that were available to removed cats remain in place.  Before long, new cats arrive to take advantage of these resources. Instead, we ask that residents care for community cats by utilizing our clinic’s Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program.  If a community cat is already ear tipped, there is no reason to trap the cat and bring him into the shelter.  He has already been neutered and is thriving in his outdoor home.

These spayed and neutered cats are unable to reproduce, continue to fill a niche in their environment, and prevent new cats (who are not spayed/neutered) from coming in and taking over.  Once they are spayed or neutered, the cats roam less, make less noise, and do not create a foul odor when marking territory.  They also continue to provide rodent control.  There are also many humane deterrents available to keep free roaming cats off your property if they are causing a nuisance.  If enough of the cats in a neighborhood are spayed or neutered, their numbers will drop over time.  This policy of managing outdoor cats through spay/neuter is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and many other leading national animal welfare organizations.
When someone finds a tiny kitten meowing under their porch or even a whole litter of kittens huddled under a bush outdoors, they may want to help immediately but not know what to do.  Compassion is a good impulse, but our actions must always be guided by what is in a cat’s best interest. That means allowing kittens and moms who are already thriving outdoors to stay right where they are.  The truth is, in nearly all cases, kittens outdoors don’t need to be “rescued.” In fact, removing kittens from their mothers and bringing them indoors can be detrimental to their wellbeing. If you see kittens alone, their mother is likely close by—and her instincts make her their best possible caregiver.  If you find kittens or healthy outdoor cats, we ask that unless trapping them for TNR, please leave them be.

Each cat brought to our spay/neuter clinic for TNR is spayed or neutered, vaccinated for Rabies, examined for wounds or illness, and ear tipped for a $15 fee.  Please call the spay/neuter clinic at 717-764-6109 ext. 125 for more information.  The clinic reopened on 5/26/2020 under modified safety protocols to maintain social distancing and ensure the safety of both our staff and community.

We recommend the following excellent resources, for more information about community cats, finding cats outdoors, and TNR:

Community Cat overview

Finding Moms and Kittens

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)

Nuisance Behaviors and Humane Deterrents