By Danielle Bays, Community Cat Programs Manager
As we celebrate the 14th annual National Feral Cat Day, I think about how far we’ve come. At one time, those who advocated for feral cats often acted like them: slinking around alleys under cover of night. The concept of caring for the cats living outside (rather than removing them) was slow to be accepted, so caregivers often worked under the cover of darkness. Today, it is a different story. What we have come to find is just how many other people, including those who don’t self-identify as feral cat advocates, are involved in the lives of our neighborhood cats.
When I moved into my house six years ago, I found that a large population of cats lived next door. My next-door neighbor, Flora, made sure all the strays had two solid meals a day. She had caring for generations of outdoor cats since she and her family moved there in 1956. As much as she loved always having cats around, Flora was really excited about the idea of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), where we’d catch all the cats, have them sterilized and vaccinated at the Washington Humane Society (WHS) National Capitol Area Spay and Neuter Center, then bring them back home. This would prevent more kittens from being born and eventually see the population age-out.