Suspending Intake for Stray & Community Cats

River the cat

Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) is suspending intake of stray and community cats, except for cases where the cat is sick or injured, or in immediate danger due to cruelty, neglect, and similar circumstances. Finders of stray cats are encouraged to check for a local owner, or attempt to find an owner if the cat is lost.


Following recommendations from the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA), Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) is suspending intake of stray and community cats*, except for cases where the cat is sick or injured, or in immediate danger due to cruelty, neglect, and similar circumstances.

The changes to limit cat intake at the Troutdale animal shelter are being implemented to reinforce social distancing measures, and manage the shelter population of cats while adoptions are suspended. At MCAS, while over 50-percent of stray dogs are successfully returned to their owners — only approximately 9-percent of cats are reunited. While these rates are significantly higher than the 2018 national average of 17.4 percent for dogs and 2.8% for cats, MCAS is continually working to improve these outcomes. 

The NACA Guidelines:

  • As COVID-19 impacts on shelters continue, it is the recommendation that animal control agencies suspend intake of healthy stray and community cats.
  • Officers and community should cease any activity involving trapping and intaking healthy community cats.
  • Animal control organizations should continue to take in cats that are sick and injured, or are in immediate danger, as in the case of cats that are victims of neglect or cruelty.

How to Help Stray Cats

Many healthy cats — in the community — may actually have owners who allowed them to roam free. Community members who suspect that healthy, stray cats in their neighborhood do not have a caretaker are encouraged to either verify a local owner, or attempt to find an owner if the cat is lost. Visit multcopets.org for information on ways to find owners of lost pets, including filing “found” reports, searching for owners in the neighborhood by distributing posters while remaining 6-feet apart from those outside your household and using other tools such as Nextdoor and social media to communicate. 

For questions or case by case considerations for helping stray or community cats, please call 503-988-7387, or e-mail mail.pet@multco.us.



* “Community cat” is an umbrella definition that includes any un-owned cat. These cats may be “feral” (un-socialized) or friendly, may have been born into the wild or may be lost or abandoned pet cats. Some community cats are routinely fed by one or more community members, while others survive without human intervention. Whatever a cat’s individual circumstances, the term “community cat” reflects the reality that for these cats, “home” is within the community rather than in an individual household.