Today it’s National Feral Cat Day, the 16th of October. A day to raise awareness for feral cats, but that’s not all. What does National Feral Cat Day stand for? National Feral Cat Day is important because the goal is to raise awareness and to promote humane care for feral cats. Their efforts to share information and educate others on the importance of Trap-Neuter-Return have been supported year after year by people and groups.
Created by Alley Cat Allies, a decade ago. But it started all with the volunteer Dolores Smith. She realized that even the smallest efforts for cats could make a big difference. Animal control was rounding up feral cats in an alley about four blocks from her house and taking them to the shelter to be killed. Catch and kill was the norm. She was determined to help those cats. Soon after that she didn’t work alone anymore, but with a neighbor and together they got the cats sprayed and neutered. Taking them as her own, all 16 of them.
“I took them as my own,” Dolores remembers. Vet bills, food, time—she’s all in.
Ever since that day Dolores has taken on two other colonies. The cats—all trapped, neutered and returned— coming together in alleyways which are used by residents and garbage collectors. Dolores is lucky to live in a community that has accepted the successful Trap-Neuter-Return method.
In 2004, Alley Cat Allies got to the D.C. Department of Public Health with an idea to set up a TNR program, the idea was accepted and promoted to people as a partnership between the department, Alley Cat Allies, and other local animal protection organizations. With this program, animal control officers and shelter officials call about feral cats to Alley Cat Allies, which then worked with people and volunteers to trap (feral) cats in a humane way, and bring them to local clinics to spay/neuter and other veterinary services.
Changing Communities for Cats
This years theme is changing communities for cats. Washington, D.C. shows that it’s possible to turn around any place where we live, even communities as vast as our nation’s capital. For example the cats under Dolores’ care which are happy, healthy, loved. They are a family for almost a decade!
“These guys are proof that the dream for a safe place for cats can be a reality” says Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.
“This is what National Feral Cat Day® is all about—working to make it accepted and legal to do what’s right. That’s what cats in every community deserve.”
You can read more at the Alley Cat Allies website, where you can find more about events, awards, how to help them raise money and much more very interesting things!
Why Trap – Neuter – Return?
Why is it so important to trap, neuter and return feral cats?
the most important reason is so that feral cats can’t reproduce. So they won’t get more litters and kittens who will grow up as feral cats, and make the feral cat-population bigger. It’s supposed to reduce, and not get bigger.
TNR is a humane method of trapping cats that haven’t been neutered or spayed yet. After they have been neutered or spayed and recovered they are sent back to the place where they were trapped, back into their colony. TNR is more effectively and more humane than euthanizing cats for managing and reducing feral cat populations.
If you want to help feral cats, you need to trap-neuter-trap them. This program ends reproduction, stabilizes feral cat populations, and improves individual cats’ lives. The behavior and stress associated with mating— pregnancy, yowling, and fighting— will stop.
Trap-Neuter-Return starts with the trapping of feral cats using humane cage traps. The captured cats are taken to a place usually run by the local vets, or animal charity clinic where they are being neutered or spayed for a nominal fee. Some TNR programs also give the feral cats vaccinations against certain diseases like rabies, feline panleukopenia, herpes, and calicivirus.
Finally the cat is marked by “ear tipping”, cropping 1/4 inch (6 mm) off of the tip of the left ear, so that it can be easily recognized as having been sterilized and as a member of a managed colony, so that the animal won’t get trapped again, or unnecessary surgery.
Other posts similar to this subject are:
Approaching a Stray Cat – What’s the best way to approach a stray or feral cat?
The Stray Cat Strut – Tips about feral cats and what to do.
How To Trap Feral Cats part 1, part 2, part 3 – The how to trap feral cats – series.
Feral Kittens – Everything you need to know about feral Kittens.
Socializing Feral Kittens – Everything about socializing and what to expect.
Alexandra & Usyaka – Help them to help the feral cats in Alexandra’s town.
But more important, I think it’s a good idea and interesting if you take a look at the Alleycat.org website. Where you can find all the information you need about feral cats, about trap-neuter-return, methods, tips and much more. Alley Cat Allies deserves that recognition, they created the National Feral Cat Day, they are trying hard to raise awareness among the people about feral cats. And most importantly? They are doing a hell of a good job!