October 16 is National Feral Cat Day. It’s an annual event established in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), and empower and mobilize the people who care about the cats. This year’s theme is Evolution of the Revolution.
Not long ago, the idea of trapping feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and then returning them to the community was revolutionary. People used to sneak around deserted alleys in the dark to feed feral cats, with the fear that these unsocialized felines would be picked up and euthanized at the shelter if they were discovered. TNR was an underground movement trying to overthrow the establishment and the old-school catch-and-kill mentality.
Now, Washington Humane Society's “CatNiPP” staff drive around in a big, bright yellow van announcing that we can help outdoor cats. There are posters on Metro buses, too. We encourage people to feed the neighborhood strays and provide guidance on how to do so responsibly. We promote providing winter shelters for community cats and even showcase shelters designed by local architects at our annual Designs for Felines event.
We are determined to show that TNR works to improve the lives of cats and ultimately decrease the number of cats who need our help. This month marks the end of the first year of an ambitious three-year project, funded by PetSmart Charities, to spay or neuter 8,100 cats found outside in the D.C. neighborhoods located to the east of the Anacostia River. We are a visible part of the community, passing out flyers and talking to people on the streets, attending community meetings, and networking with neighborhood leaders.
Instead of being underground, we are shouting from the rooftops!
I’d like to invite you to shout along with us.
Join WHS CatNiPP staff in the field trapping and releasing of community cats. There is no other urban adventure like it. It is like a combination of Hide-and-Seek and Chess, played outdoors with an audience. Experience the thrill of catching a cat and the joy of releasing him back home after surgery. We are out there nearly every day. Let us know you are interested by emailing CatNiPP@washhumane.org with the subject line “I want to trap cats”.