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TNR: From the Alley to Main Street should be every day, not only on Oct. 16’s National Feral Cat Day

Feral cats need our help every day, all year long.
Feral cats need our help every day, all year long.

Trap Neuter Return (TNR): From the Alley to Main Street should be every day, not only on Oct. 16’s National Feral Cat Day.

National Feral Cat Day is one of the more important days to bring recognition to an ever present situation – the plight of feral cats.

Paws loves all cats, of all colors and flavors, regardless of where they live. Many of the ferals once lived with humans. Others are descendents of cats that were discarded by their people for one reason or another.

While some ferals are actually strays and can learn to live with humans again. It takes years for the truly feral cat to adjust to the humans that abandoned them. After all, would you trust a human if they had thrown you out into the wild to live out the rest of your days.

While Paws thinks cats are just the best, that thought is not shared by all. Many hate cats. Others tolerate them, and find them a nuisance. They spray, yawl and get into cat fights. They walk on their new cars, and defecate in their gardens. They find them a nuisance.

This anti-cat feeling is fueled by the fact that left in-tact, cats reproduce at a very high rate. They can have up to four litters a year. With multiple litters, they also have multiple kittens in each litter.


Many of these little ones perish from malnutrition or predators. While the charts are misleading about how many cats come from one cat, there’s no doubt if not spayed and neutered, cats have a lot of cats. It is estimated, there are more feral cats in the United States than domestic cats.

That’s why Trap Neuter Programs are so important. If there are less cats, there will be less nuisance.

TNR addresses the vacuum effect – if the cats are removed from the area, another group will move in. There’s food and water and shelter. So why not make it their home.

If the cats do not reproduce, they can live out their years, and mark their territory. Another group won’t show up to take their place, and the numbers of feral cats will slowly be reduced.

These colonies usually have caregivers, who make sure the cats have shelter, food and water, all necessary for their survival.

TNR is not a quick fix, and in today’s society of instantaneous communication, humans expect to have everything fixed yesterday. That’s not going to happen with the feral cat issue. However, slow, persistent work will pay off. It’s good for the cats, and good for the humans.

National Feral Cat Day also draws attention to the problem of ferals in shelters, and promotes setting up barn cat programs. If the ferals can be re-homed to live in barns, they can do their part for rodent control, while being moved from an area where they are not wanted.

Re-homing is more humane than extermination.

Here we cite some facts from the national feral cat organization, Alley Cat Allies, which states they are the only national organization dedicated to the protection of cats., with more than 500,000 supporters nationwide in the movement to protect and improve cats’ lives.

  • ‘Alley Cat Allies launched National Feral Cat Day® on our 10th anniversary in 2001 to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them.
  • National Feral Cat Day® is observed on October 16 every year.
    More and more people celebrate National Feral Cat Day® each year. Since 2011, more than 1,000 National Feral Cat Day events have taken place—spreading the word and helping feral cats all over the country and abroad.
  • Feral cats have lived alongside humans for more than 10,000 years. They are the same species as pet cats. Feral cats, also called community or outdoor cats, live in groups called colonies and can thrive in every landscape. They are just as healthy as pet cats, but they are not socialized to humans and are therefore unadoptable.
  • Trap-Neuter-Return—a humane approach to managing and caring for feral cats—is the only effective method of stabilizing feral cat colonies. In the last decade, the number of local governments with official policies endorsing TNR for feral cats has increased tenfold, with hundreds of cities and towns successfully carrying out TNR.
  • However, in the majority of cities, feral cats are still caught and brought to animal pounds and shelters where they are killed. The shelter system is the number one cause of death for cats in the United States. About 70 percent  of cats who enter shelters are euthanized.’

Did you do something for your community cats on National Feral Cat Day? Do you help feral cats? Why do you think people hate the ferals so much? Please share your thoughts and weigh in on the discussion.

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