Cat lovers who are involved with or simply care about community cats may know that tomorrow is National Feral Cat Day. Started by Alley Cat Allies 15 years ago in 2001, each year October 16th is meant to raise awareness about feral and community cats. The 2016 theme of National Feral Cat Day is All Cats All Communities and you can learn more at NationalFeralCatDay.org.
What is a Feral Cat?
In case you’re not familiar with the term, a feral cat is one who lives outside in a colony and is not socialized or adoptable. Feral cats can be found in any community, whether living in a city, the suburbs or the countryside. If trapped early enough through TNR efforts, the kittens of a feral cat may be adoptable and able to live in a loving forever home.
What is TNR?
TNR stands for trap-neuter-return and it refers to a process where a feral cat is humanely trapped, taken to the vet to be spayed or neutered, and then returned to their colony to live out its life. TNR programs have been proven successful and it is the best and most humane way to reduce feral cat populations.
Why is TNR Important?
According to Alley Cat Allies, 70% of cats who enter shelters do not make it out alive, and nearly 100% of feral cats are euthanized if they enter a shelter. Controlling the cat population in a humane way is necessary to reducing these numbers, and TNR is helping to do that. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to spay or neuter your cat to ensure they are not contributing to the overpopulation problem.
National Feral Cat Day
Alley Cat Allies wants to know how you are participating in National Feral Cat Day. You are encouraged to register your action on their website. Or, you can browse the actions and see what’s happening in your community.
I chose to recognize National Feral Cat Day this week by featuring two individuals who work with community cats – Terry from Brian’s Home and Corky with TNR of Warren – both caring for ferals and performing TNR efforts.
Corky and TNR of Warren are participating in National Feral Cat Day by holding a spay/neuter clinic for 110 cats on October 22nd. Here’s what Corky has to say about feral cats.
We prefer the term community cat since feral cat brings a bad picture to people’s minds. If I had one thing to say about them, it would be that these cats of the shadows just want to live. They don’t demand your love, but they do ask for your mercy. Their existence is an everyday struggle to survive. They are a part of the make-up of the animal world and as such have a very important niche. They feel love, anxiety, fear and joy. If you can’t love and care for them like we do, then at the very least please leave them alone. ~Corky
An Update from Donna
I’d like to give you an update from one of our most popular posts from back in March, which was Feral Cat Colony with Donna. Donna is a wonderful example of an individual getting involved all by herself. In March at the time of the post, she had TNR’d 12 cats. Donna has since TNR’d a total of 44 from her colony, and she has also rescued, fostered and found homes for 12. In total, Donna has helped spay and neuter 67 cats this year by helping another colony as well as street cats.
While Donna has grown close with TNR of Warren, she still works individually with her colony. Besides TNR, she feeds them twice a day and provides outdoor shelters for the colony. She also fosters kittens from the cats she hasn’t been able to TNR yet and finds them homes. Talk about one dedicated woman! Donna is proof that one person can make a difference. Be sure to follow Donna on Instagram to keep up with her colony and her progress.
Feral cats get such a bad rap. All they need and want is love, too. A few of my ferals now are so trusting that they come up to me for pets! Feral Cats Need Love Too!! Building their trust takes time, but when it happens, the joy and reward are immense!! I always try to give my colony not only food and water twice daily but treats and catnip as well…just because they live outside doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the simple things in life like cats in homes do. ~Donna
Blog the Change for Animals #BtC4A
Today is Blog the Change for Animals day, which happens four times a year, and I thought it fitting to talk about National Feral Cat Day in conjunction with #BtC4A. If you love cats and want to get involved, perhaps a TNR program is something to consider.