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It’s National Feral Cat Day! Help a Kitty on Your Street.

October 16, 2007

A few of you might remember when I was trapping feral kittens (and finally their mama!) back in Vegas a few years ago. In all there were 9 kittens from 2 litters, plus mom, that we trapped and fixed. All the kittens were adopted, and mama cat got to live out her days without having to scrounge, breed, and feed 2 litters a year. It was one of the best things I ever did, and not just ’cause it meant no more kittens born and raised on top of their dead and decaying siblings in the 5 inches of space between cinder block walls only to live a short hard life off the leavings of humans. At least on Copper Villa Ct.

It took some patience, work, and a lot of help from willing neighbors, vets who offer low-cost spay/neuter services and vaccinations, understanding roommates, bosses willing to let me bring kittens into the office for socialization, kind people in the Best Friends network who loaned me a humane trap, a group like Heaven Can Wait to place kittens for adoption and to find a sweet family in their network to foster the first batch of 3 before I knew how or could supply room.

But it’s good work. Trap/neuter/release and adoption programs improve lives for cats and the humans who work with and adopt them, little by little humanely reducing the numbers of cats killed in overpopulated animal control centers. It also slowly changes the perception of what an animal management program can and should do.

Inflammatory figures are sometimes listed, saying that a pair of cats can “theoretically” produce 420,000 cats in seven years! Assuming they all lived, maybe. That number has been disproved in an interesting writeup over at the WSJ, and is probably somewhere in the 100s or as high as 5000. Coming from two. That’s still a lot of cats living out the twice-a-year cycle of fight-mate-nurse-scrounge.

That’s why today is National Feral Cat Day, but of course this work goes on every day. Feral cat colonies will not disappear tomorrow, and you don’t have to tackle an entire colony. Maybe there’s a pregnant mama cat on your street you could help out. I have a hint for you–they seem to love smelly mackerel.
Maybe you can’t physically go out and trap a cat, but you have time to foster or work on adoption days in your area.

Here is some great info on how to start, even if it’s to just start thinking about it:

Alley Cat Allies home and Resource Center

Best Friends Feral Cat Resources

Find a Best Friends Network or start one in your community

Get a humane trap

Read why Trap-Neuter-Return is a good idea for truly feral cats

or write to me, and I’ll offer encouragement and the stories of many missteps and successes along the way!

~ this post is dedicated to my old neighbors, Jim and Kim, who opened their hearts, their kitchen, and their garage door to make a better life for mama cat. And to Cowboy and Caper, the last of you, who went to a new home together.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. craftyinfidel permalink
    October 21, 2007 6:32 pm

    Awww… You’re the best and you must have a heart of gold. There’s a cat down my street that I’m keeping an eye on because it doesn’t have a collar on. It always sits on the same stoop though and looks quite well fed with no scratch marks. Hmmm… Will have to look at some of your links to see what some indicators of feral cats are. Someday I may get up the courage to knock on the door and tell the owner that if it’s their cat it should have a collar on!

  2. bloomlikeflowers permalink
    October 22, 2007 5:04 pm

    Yay! Go fur it! There must be a million hobo kitties in NYC…

  3. Bella permalink
    November 2, 2007 5:36 am

    I would like to know how to contact friends of the feral cat/
    alley cat allies in sa- many thanks

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