Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

When human homeless and community cat colony collide


I have a dilemma to present to my readers and hope that each and every one will give utmost consideration to their thoughts on this when leaving a comment.

You know that Mom L and Dad P have been helping care for and manage a once 35+ cat colony at a city park within walking distance from my castle. Mom L has been able to bring seven cats successfully through adoption paths, one senior kitty had to be sent to The Bridge and another needed a quiet back garden to live out his senior life as he was hyperthyroid.

This cat colony, all resulting in humans abandoning cats who they once adopted and cared for, has been in existence in this beautiful city park for about sixteen years. The colony grew to over forty cats in the housing recession in my county and our area where we and the cats live was hit extremely hard. People had to leave their homes and they simply stopped off at this park to drop off their now unwanted or impossible to move with kitty. Most were left as not spayed nor neutered.

Long story short the River View Park cat colony stabilized once Mom L worked with the primary caretakers and feeders to about twenty-seven adult cats.

That was true until early March of 2019.

Here is the dilemma upon which I ask my readers to leave a comment. These cats live in a lovely city park right on the banks of the mighty California Delta, the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers that flows into our gorgeous San Francisco Bay.

The dilemma: The colony cats, resulting from abandonment by humans, require a very similar environment, meaning natural foliage cover, trees, access to water, food etc. as many humans who are also currently feeling abandoned after our inability to offer affordable housing in this area. Same habitat needed by both in general. Places where they can hide, camp out, not be bothered by humans who do not approve of their existence and those in authority who must enforce public nuisance ordinances, etc.

The assumed solution: Remove any cover in which the homeless can hide their tent encampments and believe that community cats are resilient and adaptable and can fend for themselves.

If this “assumed solution” happens, what do you believe are the outcomes for both the homeless humans and the homeless community cats? What would you do. Remember this is a city park, very well maintained for families to use in a lovely location on our California Delta.

Let me hear from you my readers, in comments, what you believe is the most humane set of actions to care for both the human and feline homeless in this situation? One further detail to add to your deliberation on this dilemma—as a result of what occurred between this “human and community cat” conflict, this cat colony has diminished from a stable twenty seven cats to seventeen cats—and as of this past weekend is now at potentially ten cats.

We are all really looking forward to my pals comments. Please think about this from not only a “human” perspective, but let me hear from my feline pals perspective too. Savannah’s Paw Tracks holds compassion for both. But in this dilemma can both “win”? Tell me if you have had a similar dilemma and how it was resolved.


Community Concern For Cats

Contra Costa Humane Society

Petco Re-Homing


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18 thoughts on “When human homeless and community cat colony collide

  1. Is the park big enough to dedicate part of it to the homeless? That way both they and the cats would continue to have a place to shelter.

  2. Too many unknowns in what you have told us to make a call, but that just mirrors life. What is most concerning is why the cats have diminished? Have they been killed eaten, run off? What is clear is that a park is a park and not a human habitation. The cats, arguably, live there as of right, and should not have their habitat taken away from them, nor does that to my mind make a nice family park environment. I have seen denuded parks, done for safety etc, and they are not a nice habitat. Equally those without a home need somewhere to live and breath and be safe. A park is not that, and poses too many conflicts of interest and opinion. Finding homes, across species, and seeing the worth in all, is a key, and underlies many modern issues. I would be interested to know your thoughts and what has actually been done and achieved. . . .

  3. ATCAD on said:

    Oh my, what is happening to the cats??? We don’t have any answers we don’t think removing the ground cover is an answer as many things besides the cats and humans need it for shelter and food, it would be very disruptive to the native wildlife. We would suggest shelters for the homeless (local churches here allow homeless to sleep in them and provide a meal) but it is our understanding that some of the homeless refuse to use shelters as they do not like the rules. The local library in Ocean Springs removed their benches outside to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them. Very sad situation and no easy answers.

  4. Bruce on said:

    Removing the ground cover is not the solution it’s obvious.Homeless humans as well as animals is a big problem but how big cities solve this is a real delema.I see some even living in their cars.Not sure if I honestly have a solution.Do you jail or arrest the humans and trap and fix the kitties and let them be released back into the public park?No real sensible answer? Homelessness has become a country neide epidemic.Sone are veterans, mentally ill?Sorry but this situation needs more brain storming.For now we all need to unite as a society.Seems now a days everyone is just in their own little world and self concerns.

  5. My human and I wish we had some answers for both these discarded kitties, and discarded humans. There is so much wrong with our society that this sort of thing is happening – and the only answer anyone can come up with is making things uncomfortable for everyone. This won’t make them stop existing, so what do they want to have happen to them?

  6. This is a tough one because typically preference is given to humans and not animals. But cutting back everything? Not a good one for either group.

  7. The solution is most definitely NOT cutting normal cover back so no one has sanctuary! We would suggest setting a place aside for the humans where they can have access to restrooms and have some sense of dignity. Many do not want to be in shelters due to mental illness and we are sure the crime that may lurk there also is something they consider. The cats have no ability to move so we suggest they stay put with continued TNR and support. The human condition has always had those at the edge of society for choice or chance. Once there were places they could live on the cheap but these have all been renovated or torn down. Just our opine

  8. What Marjorie said, fight for the cats.

  9. I’ve been trying to find news about this since we live in the western part of CCC. and are interested in finding out more about this community. I sure hope that they find a solution amenable to all parties, but that’s tough.

  10. catladymac on said:

    Doesn’t sound like there is a plan for relocating either the cats OR the humans ! Just destroying the environment where they can shelter is only a cosmetic solution ! Plus, clearing the area only opens it to erosion, unless they plan to re-so & re-see it. Just getting them out of the area doesn’t solve the problem . Purrayers that some smarter ideas emerge !

  11. Ra Husquiberian on said:

    Dear friends, truly no easy solutions. Have you thought of trapping the remaining cats and transporting them all – somewhere else, somewhere safe, a barn a pasture or somewhere…thnaks for all the good wooo do,

    Nuk & family

  12. Carole Schulman on said:

    Every word that Marjorie said is what I would have said if she didn’t say it first. It’s very concerning.
    Katie Isabella and Mom

  13. We wish we knew a solution to this dilemma. We are saddened, but at a loss about the “right” path to be taken. We hope someone much smarter than Mom and me has the answer.

    Love and licks,

  14. What a tuff problem – purring a solushun can be found to keep all safe.

  15. Sounds like someone is removing the cats as well as the homeless people….trouble is what has been done to the cats?That is what I would want to know,xx Rachel

  16. Marjorie Dawson on said:

    The cats need some degree of shelter, and of care, surely this can be taken into account when any plan is made for cover to be removed? It would be creepy to have a flat boring area – surely. I know people down on their luck need this shelter too BUT the diminishing number of cats is extremely worrying and smacks of deliberate removal. Cats just DON’T just disappear.

    I think the case should be made for compassion for the cats. And a query made about the removal of cats causing their sudden decline in numbers. Cats need our help – and we need to grab people by the scruff of the neck and shake them harder than ever. Authorities need to know there are advocates for the cats who will fight respectfully but strongly.

  17. that is sure a problem… to find another place is probably not easy, because kitties are creatures of habits too and see their place as their “home”… ;O(

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