Cat Colony Care Programme

Successful Trap-Neuter-Return of Hong Kong's Street Cats!

Since its inception in August 2000, the Cat Colony Care Programme has desexed more than 59,000 street cats. The tipped ear indicates that this cat is desexed and part of the CCCP.

Started in August 2000, SPCA's Cat Colony Care Programme (CCCP), was begun as a compassionate response to the increasing number of street cats in Hong Kong.

The CCCP works by combining the SPCA's resources with the energy of Hong Kong's numerous cat lovers, in a territory wide community effort which humanely and sustainably reduces the local cat population, thus reducing euthanasia rates.

It both improves the welfare of cats and the urban environment for human beings. Since 2002 the programme has been recognised by the Government.

CCCP is a hugely successful example of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in action!

  • Welfare of HK Street Cats
  • How to Spot a CCCP Cat
  • Why CCCP in HK?
  • Reduced euthanasia
  • Cat Boxes
  • Streetwise 2014

Undesexed = constant kittens.Undesexed = constant kittens.

Hong Kong’s street cats

Cats occupy a unique space in the hearts of Hong Kong people. Loved by some, loathed by others. One of the most photographed city subjects, yet also considered a pest. Thousands of street cats live amongst Hong Kong’s densely packed human population.  Hong Kong’s stray cats are resourceful creatures, with a strong survival instinct and an exponential reproductive rate.

Street living is hard - street cats are vulnerable to illness, predators, car accidents and other accidents. Street cats have to fight to survive, literally. They fight amongst themselves for territory and for mates, advertising their presence by yowling and urine spraying.

Unfortunately, these qualities also make them extremely unpopular with human neighbours. Enter CCCP which works to resolve negative impacts in a humane way by working deep within the community.

 

Sick street kitten.Sick street kitten.

Profile of undesexed non-CCCP street cats
  • Life span: 2 years on average.
  • Source of food: rubbish, scavenging for food resulting in malnutrition and disease.
  • Reproduction rate: up to 6 kittens per litter, up to two litters a year. An estimated 1 in 3 kittens will die within the first few months of life. Mothers become exhausted and ill.
  • Population increases exponentially
  • Fighting: constant fighting resulting in injuries.
  • Illness: left to get sick and die with much suffering.
  • Threats: illness, fights with other cats, injury, car accidents, dog attacks.
  • Many complaints: resulting from noise from fighting, mating and smell from urine marking.
Profile of desexed CCCP street cats
  • Healthy CCCP cat.Healthy CCCP cat.Life span: CCCP cats generally have a longer and healthier life span.
  • Source of food: the Registered Carer ensures cats get a regular supply of good quality food.
  • No reproduction: CCCP cats are desexed and produce no kittens, resulting in a reduction of kitten deaths and suffering.
  • Population: stabilises or decreases.
  • Fighting: no fighting for mates, therefore less injuries, healthier with reduced chance of disease.
  • Illness: should a CCCP cat become sick, it will be removed from the colony by the Registered Carer, ensuring better health of the colony
  • Less complaints, less noise, less smell from urine marking, less fighting.

These beautiful street cats belong to CCCP, are they male or female? Find out how you can tell at a glance.

Left: A male cat's right ear is tipped. Right: A female cat's left ear is tipped.Left: A male cat's right ear is tipped. Right: A female cat's left ear is tipped.

It is essential for us to identify feral cats that have been neutered. It helps with programme monitoring and ensures that they are not trapped again and put through an unnecessary surgery.

Our programme identifies cats through two methods:

Ear Tipping

This gives us a visual guide as to whether the cat is part of a colony. It involves the removal of a small portion of one of the cat's ears: left for females and right for males. This is a quick, simple procedure used in many countries and is done whilst the cat is anaesthetised during the desexing procedure - cats are also then provided with pain-relief medication.

Microchipping

Gives us an even better method of identification in the event of a problem occurring with one of our colony cats. Through the unique identification number embedded in the microchip, we can track the colony location the cat belongs to and also trace the carer who is looking after the cat.

All cats neutered and returned under this programme since 2003 have been implanted with microchips. 

CCCP offers a humane solution to the endless reproduction and euthanising of street cats.CCCP offers a humane solution to the endless reproduction and euthanising of street cats.

Why CCCP in HK?

Euthanasia to control cat populations is neither humane nor effective.
These feline survivors will always produce more kittens to replace the numbers removed.

In the 1990s, countries such as the United States and the UK were having some success in managing stray cat populations using Trap, Neuter and Return methods. Together with increased spay and neuter programmes for roaming pet cats and kitten adoption drives, TNR helped reduce cat populations sharply in many areas, with broad community support.

In the late 1990s, the SPCA commissioned a feasibility study to see if Trap Neuter and Return would work in Hong Kong.

In August 2000, the Cat Care Colony Programme was launched by the SPCA with a small group of committed carers, registered under the programme. They feed and trap cats in their areas, and bring the cats to the SPCA. The SPCA not only desexes, vaccinates and microchips the cats but also provides preventative treatments such as defleaing and deworming. The goal is to return healthy, desexed cats to their original colonies. Today CCCP has seen over 45,000 street cats desexed and the programme has over 1,000 cat colonies across Hong Kong.

The CCCP launched in 2002, and the chart below give a great snapshot of how over the years, the steady increase in the numbers of cats desexed every year, has resulted in the steady reduction of cats euthanised every year.

Inspector removes kitten from an early "cat box".Inspector removes kitten from an early "cat box".

Cat boxes

In the 1950s, more than 1,000 cats were handed into the SPCA
every month!

Do you remember cat boxes?

"Cat box" in HK Museum."Cat box" in HK Museum.In the 1950's, due to the large numbers of cats being abandoned, the Society set up cat boxes for the public to place unwanted cats and kittens.

Cat boxes were placed outside SPCA centres, as well as public areas in Hung Hom, Mongkok, Kowloon City, Shau Kei Wan, Sheung Wan and Stanley. Though intended for cats and kittens, inspectors often found many other animals inside – puppies, rabbits, hamsters, snakes and even adult dogs tied to the box.

With the introduction of the CCCP, the SPCA phased out cat boxes in 2002. Today, the only cat box that remains is in the Hong Kong History Museum, a stark reminder of Hong Kong’s stray animal problems and progress made in animal welfare.

SPCA Cat Colony Care Programme - Streetwise 2014SPCA Cat Colony Care Programme - Streetwise 2014

SPCA Cat Colony Care Programme - Streetwise 2014

  • A Decade Flew By
  • Lingnan Cats
  • CCCP Pull-out Poster
  • In It for the Long Run
  • At the Border
  • Cat Trap, Neuter & Return in China
  • CCCP in Numbers
  • click here to download