Person holding a small cat in their arms while standing outside

Saving homeless pets in New Jersey

In many communities in New Jersey, local and state laws put outdoor cats in danger.

Community cats are outdoor cats who live in the community and are often cared for by multiple residents. They are among the most at-risk animals in shelters.

Community cats are often brought to shelters by well-intentioned people. But because community cats are not used to living with humans, they are unlikely to be adopted, which means most of them aren't suitable for adoption and need to be returned to their outdoor homes. Inability to return the cats to their outdoor homes often means they are killed.

Together, we can change that and save lives here in New Jersey when our communities allow trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) programs that prevent cats from reproducing.

Targeted TNVR is the only humane and effective way to reduce community cat populations and end nuisance behaviors associated with cats reproducing while saving cats' lives. This proven approach ensures that cats in the community won't have more kittens, and that means fewer cats entering shelters. 

Small cat relaxing on a soft blue blanket

Support change for cats in New Jersey communities

Best Friends is advocating for policies at the state and local levels that will help cats in New Jersey communities, and we can’t do it without you.

There are barriers at the state and local levels that make it more difficult to put lifesaving cat programming (such as TNVR ordinances) in place in communities around New Jersey. As a result, community cat populations continue to grow and put stress on shelters that have limited resources.

By implementing TNVR, community cats continue to live outdoors after they’ve been spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies, keeping them out of shelters and freeing up resources for other pets in dire need of sheltering and care.

At a shelter level, Best Friends works across New Jersey to normalize and to implement community cat programs in the communities that need them most.

Best Friends is also currently working to pass the Compassion for Community Cats bill, which would remove a mandatory stray hold for community cats and allow communities to return healthy outdoor cats to their outdoor homes after sterilization and vaccination. This is critical to ensuring cats have appropriate and safe outcomes.

By adding your signature, you’re telling leaders in your community that saving cats’ lives is important to the residents of New Jersey.

The goal of ending killing in shelters is called no-kill

A 90% save rate for animals entering a shelter is a meaningful and common-sense benchmark for measuring lifesaving progress. 

No-kill is a community philosophy and commitment to saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved. But it's helpful to have a way to clearly measure lifesaving progress as we move forward together, and that's where the 90% benchmark comes in.

Typically, the number of dogs and cats who are suffering from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being rehomed is not more than 10% of all dogs and cats entering shelters. Therefore, we designate shelters that meet the 90% save rate benchmark as no-kill.

How do we reach no-kill?

We reach no-kill by working together — by spaying and neutering pets, fostering, volunteering, and joining campaigns to let local government officials know about our desire to live in a community committed to saving the lives of our pets.

Microchip your pet to keep them safe 

A veterinarian or shelter staff member will scan for a microchip when stray pets are brought to them. This safe and effective technology can help get your pet back to you quickly if they’re ever lost. 

Recent tales from New Jersey

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out these pets and their stories of hope, love, and resilience.

You can help a New Jersey shelter or animal rescue group

The Best Friends Network is made up of thousands of public and private animal shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations, and other animal welfare groups, all working to save the lives of dogs and cats in communities like yours across the country, including here in New Jersey.

Each and every one of our network partners needs caring people like you to adopt, foster, donate, volunteer, and advocate to help save the lives of pets where you live.

Find an animal shelter or rescue group near you today: 

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Your voice matters

Not able to adopt or foster? You can spread the word about the importance of stepping up to save the lives of cats and dogs.

Let your family, friends, and neighbors know that together we can make a difference in the lives of pets.

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Show your support

Best Friends is advocating for policies at the state and local levels that will help cats in New Jersey communities, and we can’t do it without you.
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About Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Society is working to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes.

As recently as 2016, 2 million cats and dogs were killed in shelters in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now less than 400,000 per year, but there’s still work to do to ensure a bright future for every dog and cat in America.  

Best Friends operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets by working with shelters and passionate people like you. We’re sharing our resources and what we know to help shelters around the country achieve no-kill in their communities. 

Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill in 2025.