Your cat is your responsibility!

As a cat owner, you know the wonderful companionship a cat can offer, and while domestic cats may dream of being mighty lions, the indoor/outdoor life is not in their best interest.

Indoor/Outdoor cats are at risk of: 

  • Attack by predators, including other cats, dogs, coyotes, and birds of prey
  • Trapping, theft, and accidental or intentional poisoning
  • Injury or death from fighting and cars
  • Potential exposure to serious diseases, such as rabies and feline leukemia, and parasites
  • Pregnancy

Cats can create a nuisance to neighbors by urinating and defecating in children's play areas, gardens, and flower beds. Their fighting and yowls to attract a mate are disturbing to many people. Hunting behavior causes the death of migratory birds and other small wild animals.

Are cats allowed to go outside?

All cats are required to be rabies vaccinated, just like dogs and ferrets, but there is no leash law for cats, so owners may allow cats outside. Saint Paul Animal Services strongly recommends that cats be kept inside and only allowed outside if the owner leashes the cat and stays outside to monitor it.

Property Owners:

Property owners have the right to confine and remove any cat that comes on their property. Property owners should research area shelters or foster based nonprofits to ensure there is a place for them to bring the confined cat before they begin trapping.


Saint Paul Animal Services recommends all cat owners consider spaying or neutering their cats to prevent unwanted kittens. Cats that are spayed and neutered live longer, healthier lives, and are less likely to want to go outside. When spayed or neutered cats do go outside they create fewer nuisances because they are less likely to fight, they don't yowl to call for a mate, and their urine is not as stinky.


Community cats (cats that live outside with no owner) are best served through a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program. These programs help ensure the cat population doesn't explode through uncontrolled population, and is the most humane means to manage outdoor cats. You can tell a TNR'd Community Cat because the tip of its left ear is cleanly snipped off.

If you can't keep your cat:

Sometimes people get a new pet with the best of intentions and it just doesn't work out. Moving, landlords, financial changes, and allergies are some of the most common reasons people can't keep cats. If you can't keep your cat, call Saint Paul Animal Services, or another animal shelter to learn about how to safely surrender your cat. Never just release your cat outside. Owned cats that are let go generally don't have a good standard of living, and most of them get sick or die because they don't have the survival skills that outdoor cats have learned.

Injured cats and kittens:

If you find a sick or injured cat, or kittens with or without their mama, call Saint Paul Animal Services right away.

Last Edited: April 15, 2021