The City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services will help local groups and individuals in their efforts to spay and neuter free-roaming cats in the city.

The new Citywide Cat Program will provide resources to help people humanely trap, spay or neuter, and then release the stray cats back into the wild. The hope is that by reducing the number of intact breeding cats in the city, fewer litters will be produced and thus reducing the number of stray cats that walk the streets of L.A.

“Caring for free-roaming cats, while working to stabilize and reduce their numbers, is one of the most complex issues facing animal shelters today,” said Annette Ramirez, Interim General Manager for LA Animal Services. “Studies have shown that working trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs are the most humane and effective way to reduce free-roaming cat populations while saving cats’ lives and providing public health benefits.”

Millions of cats end up in shelters across the country, many of which were born on the streets. Additionally, stray cats are a blight on the local ecosystem, responsible for millions of deaths of wild animals including birds, lizards and rodents every year.

These free-roaming cats, aka community cats, that grew up on the streets, are not socialized and not used to being confined, making them unlikely to be adopted from shelters, Animal Services said.

The new Citywide Cat Program will provide funds for the surgical sterilization of 20,000 community cats every year. That’s in addition to funds the city has already allocated for eligible homeowners who want to have their pets fixed.

The cats are humanely caught, sterilized and vaccinated, then returned to their original location.

To participate in the program, you must visit the program website and apply and register for the program. Additionally, you can download the appropriate documentation, watch instructional videos on how to humanely trap a stray cat, and make an appointment at participating spay/neuter clinics to get a captured cat sterilized.

You can also donate to the program to help in the efforts to reduce the number of stray cats in the city.