Thursday, October 16, 2014

National Feral Cat Day - 2014

Photo Courtesy of Putsch Photography

This year, National Feral Cat Day falls on Thursday, October 16th Yes, that's today. Feral cats are unowned cats who live in colonies.  Cats are solitary hunters but are not loners, they like to live in a family grouping, even if that group, called a Clowder, is of their own making. Feral cats have lived among people for centuries.

Sadly, skewed numbers in a "study" have blamed feral cats for killing birds. Of course that's false information. How people who claim to love birds can hate cats is beyond comprehension. They're all living breathing sentient beings. While too many people find feral cats to be a nuisance, the best way to lessen their numbers is by Trap, Neuter, Return, commonly known as TNR. Each neutered or spayed cat is returned to the place where they have been living with a cut in their ear to show that they have been neutered.  They are given food and water by dedicated volunteers who also trap them humanely and transport them to be spayed or neutered.

Alley Cat Allies, founded in 1990, began National Feral Cat Day on their 10th Anniversary.  The date is always October 16th only the day changes from year to year.

For more information on National Feral Cat Day, here is my Q & A with Elizabeth Holtz, Staff Attorney for Alley Cat Allies.

Q.  How did you come up with this year's theme?

A.  Our Theme: TNR From the Alley to Main Street, captures the tremendous progression of TNR from something practiced privately by people who care for cats to the mainstream. Today over 430 local governments recognize or endorse TNR. It's practiced by animal control officers, city officials, citizens and animal shelters.

Photo Courtesy of Putsch Photography

Q.  How do you convince those who don't realize that TNR is the best option to choose for their city or town?

A.  I approach it logically by noting that TNR is currently the only effective is the only effective form of cat management that we have available. Cities have practiced trapping and killing (where feral cats are trapped, taken to a shelter, and euthanized) for decades with no positive impact on the cat population. It wastes taxpayer dollars and is cruel. When people realize that what they're currently doing is ineffective (yet costs money), they are happy to support TNR.

Q.  Is there a percentage of feral cats that are adopted into homes?

A.  No. The term "feral" refers to a cat's socialization level. Truly feral cats should not be tamed because they prefer living outdoors in their colonies. Today we use the term "community cats" to describe cats living outdoors, so they can have a range of socialization levels. Some people do adopt friendly community cats. But by far the best approach to community cats is TNR.

Q.  What are your goals for National Feral Cat Day?

A.  National Feral Cat Day is a celebration of the people on the front lines, caring for cats and advocating for humane laws in their community. It's a moment to recognize their hard work. Our goal is to build on the momentum and continue to spread the word.

Thanks to Elizabeth Holtz for this interview. You can find Alley Cat Allies online at:


Gordon Brice said...

Thank you for a very informative report on National Feral Cat Day - 2014, Darlene and, many thanks to Elizabeth Holtz and the multitude of volunteers, who go out of their way to ensure that feral, or community, cats are helped to live as comfortably as possible.

Darlene said...

Thank you for your comment, Gordon. What is being done to help feral cats is important and needs to be recognized.

Darlene said...
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Caren Gittleman said...

I am so happy to see so many involved this year!

Darlene said...

Isn't it wonderful?! Getting the word out is so important, Caren. :-)