General FAQ’s

Q: What does Hyde Park Cats do?

Hyde Park Cats is a diverse group of people who care about the issues surrounding cats in our urban environment (and beyond). We care about cats, and we care about the community, too. We practice ‘TNR’ or trap-neuter-return, a humane and increasingly widespread method of feline population control, try to educate and empower others to do the same. We also help with lost and found cats and dogs in our neighborhood. We have a robust adoption program as well!

You can learn more about TNR at Alley Cat Allies, a national organization.

Q: How do I volunteer with HPC?

If you want to volunteer, write to You will also be invited to join our Googlegroup, which sends out messages to members regarding all manner of feral/stray cat issues.

Q: Can I foster a cat?

Yes. We are always looking for good foster homes. Email for our foster application. We love college and graduate students! You do not necessarily have to live in Hyde Park to foster for us.

Q: I’d like to help socialize cats for Hyde Park Cats; can I come over to play with them sometimes?

Sorry! Since HPC is not a shelter and exists under no single roof, this is not possible. Cats awaiting adoption and needing socialization are kept in private foster homes. We do support trips to Animal Welfare League at 62nd and Wabash. You can come to one of our group trips there or go yourself, anytime. The animals there are desperate for attention.

Q: A neighborhood animal is being abused … what should I do?

If you ever witness abuse in progress, that’s a crime! Be sure to call 911 to report it. You can also use the police anonymousText2Tip number by sending a text/SMS message with “CPD [your crime tip]” to CRIMES (274637). More on that here:

If you ever see a video or image online with content that displays animal abuse, be sure to contact the website host ASAP, and notify them about it. When doing so, include the link or URL to the site, and a screen-shot of the page. Animal abuse is illegal.

For nonemergency situations, contact the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago at 312-644-8338 ext. 304 or email You can remain anonymous if you wish. See this information about what If you see signs or disturbing behavior involving an animal.

II. Feral Cat Issues

Q: How can you tell if a cat is ‘feral’?

Feral cats are wild cats. A quick definition of a feral cat is that it is ‘unadoptable’ because it has not been socialized (and thus likely to be euthanized if you take it to a shelter), unaffectionate, and perhaps aggressive (if pestered). But note: even ‘mean’ feral cats can have happy lives living outside, often enjoying the company of other neutered feral cats, and appreciating—from a distance—the efforts of their human caretakers. That said, it is often hard to tell whether a cat is truly feral or not. Many cats living outside are stray or abandoned pets who grew up indoors; such cats are not well equipped to ‘fend for themselves’ outside and face slow starvation, attacks from other animals, and getting hit by cars.

Non-feral cats are more likely to eventually approach human caretakers and even allow guarded physical contact. These cats may be resocialized through foster care.

Q: Can I help feed some Hyde Park community feral cats?

Yes. Sometimes colony caretakers may need assistance for a short time. Or the need for long-term feeding plans may arise as we map out colonies. Our TNR team supports community members in South Shore, Woodlawn, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, etc. – but we can only offer support if we have volunteers to help – like you!


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