Many people in the animal rescue world know about feral cats but we forget about the “normal” people out there who don’t know much about them. Maybe some people think it means a “wild” cat, but that is pretty much all they’ve heard. They don’t understand that there are people taking care of them and looking out for their health – and doing what they can to make sure they don’t end up in animal shelters which is not where they belong.
Feral cats are not homeless. They live outside. According to Alley Cat Allies, outdoor cats have existed alongside humans for 10,000 years and can thrive in the inner city or rural farmland environment. They are not adoptable and not considered to be “pets” but they are protected under state anti-cruelty laws. Feral cats should never be taken to pounds and shelters because unadoptable cats are usually killed. However, feral kittens can often be adopted into homes if socialized at an early age.
Feral cats are just as healthy as pet cats with equally low rates of disease. They have the same lifespans too. You can learn more about the truth of feral cats here.
In many communities, there are feral cat “caregivers” who feed as well as spay and neuter the feral cats in the colonies they look after. If you would like to learn more about this, please click here.
National Feral Cat Day® on Thursday, October 16th is a national event where animal shelters and rescue groups are holding events and raising awareness about feral cats. It was started by Alley Cat Allies many years ago. Even Jackson Galaxy of “My Cat from Hell” has gotten on the bandwagon to promote National Feral Cat Day®. You can listen to his public service announcement here.
Pet Friends Magazine contacted Alley Cat Allies to find out more about National Feral Cat Day®.
Q: How did National Feral Cat Day start? How long has it been going on?
A: This is the 13th anniversary of National Feral Cat Day. It started in 2001 to coincide with Alley Cat Allies’ 10th anniversary. The original goal was to awareness about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and community cats. Now that TNR is in the mainstream, National Feral Cat Day is also a celebration of community cats, caregivers, animal control officers, and animal shelters and local governments that participate.
Q: What is the hardest obstacle in making people understand that feral cats should be treated differently than strays when they enter animal shelters?
A: We have been raised to believe that “homeless” cats belong in animal shelters. In reality, shelters are not equipped to handle community cats. Because feral cats cannot be adopted, the shelter’s only option is euthanasia or diversion to a TNR program. Community cats aren’t homeless, their home is outdoors. Because community cats and indoor only pet cats are the same species and identical in every way except their socialization level, it’s difficult for people to understand why these cats should be treated differently.
Q: Is Alley Cat Allies involved in any initiatives or programs in Michigan at this time? Are they currently working directly with any animal shelters or rescue groups?
A: We do not have any specific Michigan initiatives at the time, though we have a presence in all 50 states through Feral Friends Network (FFN). The FFN is made up of individuals and groups that are actively protecting cats’ lives through advocacy, hands-on TNR, or both. People can contact Feral Friends in their area and ask for advice and assistance. We also respond to cases as they arise across the country. Last year, we advocated for cities within Macomb County to implement TNR.
The following National Feral Cat Day® events are scheduled in Michigan:
Taylor, Michigan – October 1st through October 31st
The PAWS Clinic Offers Discounted Spay/Neuter Surgeries for Feral Cats
In celebration of National Feral Cat Day, The PAWS Clinic in Taylor, MI will offer discounted spay/neuter surgeries for feral cats. During the month of October, while funding is available, the cost for a feral cat spay or neuter will only be $5. This event is funded by P.A.W.S. of Michigan’s Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). For more information about our feral cat program, qualifications or to schedule an appointment please call 313-451-8200. www.thepawsclinic.com The PAWS Clinic, 20210 Gooddard Rd., Taylor, MI.
Brooklyn, MI – October 16th, 8 am to 6 pm
Feral Cat Day Spay/Neuter Clinic
In an effort to help our community control the feral cat population, we will be hosting a Trap-Neuter-Return day on National Feral Cat Day. We will be performing the spays (females) for $40 and the neuters (males) for $25. Please note that this is for a feral cat population and not a pet. We will be tipping the ear of each cat spayed/neutered on this day which is a signal that this feral cat has in fact been altered. Each cat will also receive a rabies vaccine, 1 dose of Revolution (heartworm/flea/ear mite/roundworm/hookworm prevention) all included in the price listed above.
If you have feral cats roaming your neighborhood, please give us a call to schedule them to be spayed/neutered on this day.
Columbia Animal Clinic, 405 N. Main St., Brooklyn, MI. Contact Dianna Pepper. www.columbiaanimalclinic.com or call 517-592-6924
Portage, MI – October 16th, 4 pm to 7 pm
Animal’s Best Friend Fund National Feral Cat Day Event
We will be hosting an event at Pet Supplies Plus which will include a TNR demonstration, adoptions of kittens born to feral moms, information sessions about community cats and a general fundraiser. Contact Sarah Gerstner at 269-998-1787. www.animalsbestfriendfund.org