Cats Safe At Home™ - Hayden Island Project


In partnership with Hayden Island residents, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and Audubon Society of Portland have begun a multi-year project to humanely reduce the island’s feral cat population in order to protect wildlife and provide a better life for cats.

Cats are the #1 pet in America yet many end up on the street and are subject to an array of hazards including cars, poisons, traps, disease, abuse by humans, attacks by other cats and dogs, wildlife predators, or becoming lost.

Birds enhance our lives and are an indicator of environmental health. Americans spend billions of dollars every year on bird related activities like bird watching, bird seed, and ecotourism. The Portland metropolitan region is home to more than 200 species of birds, many of which are under huge pressure due to habitat loss. Free-roaming cats, which prey on wildlife, add to this pressure.

The ultimate goal of this project is to increase livability on the island for wildlife, cats, and people!    

Project Overview 
Hayden Island provides a “natural laboratory” to study solutions to cat overpopulation because it has strict geographic boundaries — the banks of the Columbia River — and is home to hundreds of feral cats. For this project, we are using innovative methods to humanely reduce the island’s feral cat population.

  • Count cats Volunteers are conducting physical counts of free-roaming cats to determine how many live on Hayden Island as well as conduct public surveys to estimate the number of pet cats and attitudes about outdoor cats. Click here for more information on the cat count surveys.
  • Increase TNR and other measures After the initial baseline population estimate (completed in Fall 2014), Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) efforts will be increased in cooperation with island residents. We will continue survey counts to track changes in cat population size.
  • Support cat care We will work with the Hayden Island community to assist in the management and care of free-roaming cats. Efforts will include partnering with feral cat caregivers and residents to monitor cats, offering spay/neuter specials for local cats, finding homes for socialized feral cats, and increasing general awareness of this issue.

Things Are Different Here
The Hayden Island Cat Project is a unique undertaking: across the country, wildlife advocates and cat advocates have been at odds over how to address free-roaming cats, but these groups are working together in Portland to find solutions that are good for cats and wildlife. Join us!

Get Involved
Volunteer opportunities include conducting cat surveys, door-to-door surveys, database management, community outreach, and more.

If you want to volunteer for this project or would like more information, contact either:
Joe Liebezeit, Audubon Society of Portland, at 971-222-6111 or by email
Karen Kraus, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, at 503-797-2606 or by email

Click here for a printable Hayden Island Brochure

Click to enlarge

Focus Area
The area of the island we are focusing our efforts on is outlined on the map to the left. We have split the island into “land-use areas” that assists in organizing our survey efforts. 

Cats Safe at Home™ Campaign
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Audubon Society of Portland, and local animal welfare organizations are working together to humanely address cat overpopulation in the metro region and lessen cat impacts on wildlife through the Cats Safe at Home™ program. This program integrates a range of strategies that are good for both cats and wildlife, including spaying/neutering cats, creating the Hayden Island Cat Project, and encouraging owners to keep cats safe at home.