TOPEKA (KSNT) – Stray and outdoor cats have been a part of the Topeka community for a long time, and pet organizations are working to keep the number of cats under control.

Shelters say they’ve received an increase in calls about stray cats. They are appreciative for the help, but say they want people to be absolutely sure it is a stray cat before bringing them in.

The National Library of Medicine says 10% of indoor cats who ran away were found within two blocks of their home.

“Indoor cats who get out tend to get really spooked and they’re going to just hide nearby, really close by,” Director of Business Development at Helping Hands, Grace Clinton said. “And so if you think that it’s an outdoor cat, if you find a cat and you’re worried that somebody’s owner is looking for them, talk to your neighbors because it probably lives on your street somewhere.”

There is a large number of outdoor cats, and most of them prefer to stay outside. Cat colonies form in a community naturally. This is what vets consider to be large groups of homeless cats. And if cats are removed to limit their number, it could only make it worse.

“When we remove those cats from a neighborhood, there’s a little bit of a vacuum there and other cats will come and fill that vacuum,” Clinton said. “So, keeping stable colonies and keeping stable outdoor cat numbers in your area, is going to reduce the number of more cats coming into your area.”

Indoor cats seen roaming outside should be brought to a shelter or the cat’s home if it has on a collar. If you’re unsure whether a cat is stray or domestic, a few animal professionals have some advice.

“Look and see if the cat has a tipped ear,” Hope Herrera of West Ridge Animal Health Center said. “If it does it is likely already spayed and neutered and may already be accounted for in the community of cats.”

“Take it to your vet, or to helping hands or you can call here,” Lynn Retz of the Cat Association of Topeka said. “We can scan the cat and see if it is chipped and then try to get them back home.”