October 16 is designated as National Feral Cat Day in America, to bring attention to the thousands of unwanted stray and feral cats in the country and the best way to deal with them, TNR,or Trap-Neuter-Return. For those who stumbled across this blog, unaware of what feral cats are, I define them as wild cats. The leading national advocates of the cats, Alley Cat Allies defines them as “not socialized to people. While they are socialized to their colony members and bonded to each other, they do not have that same relationship with people.” Either way it is not possible to pick them up and place them in shelters for adoption, as they are too scared. Feral cats do best when properly managed in their outside colony, after being Trapped, Spayed or Neutered (as well as vaccinated and eartipped) and then Released back outside.
In order to bring attention to the plight of stray and feral cats Alley Cat Allies founded National Feral Cat day on October 16. In celebration of the day organizations across the country held events to help celebrate and bring awareness to the cause. The leading advocates of the cats, Alley Cat Allies, kept asking “how will you celebrate?”
I celebrated by making great progress with my feral kittens and helping out at Tree House Humane Society’s Feral Colony Caretaker Fest. The Feral Colony Caretaker Fest (FCCF) helps supply colony caretakers with winterization supplies, such as styrofoam, straw and plastic cat shelters as well as premade shelters just perfect for kitties and already busy caretakers. Caretakers could also get handouts for making their own shelters or passing out to members of the community to help educate them about TNR.
The event was a huge success and it was quite busy the entire time I helped out. Registered caretakers came by to swap stories and collect supplies. Members of the community who were passing by stopped to ask what was going on, and were promptly educated about TNR, though not all were responsive to the concept. I can’t attest to just how many supplies went, but I witnessed at least half a dozen pre-made shelters go tohelp out deserving colonies. We even had new caretakers stop by and register!
While I did not personally help too many people, it was great to connect with other caretakers and talk to people who care about their feral cats as much as I do. It was great to hear that some of them have the same worries, fears and stressors that I do, and to know that I am not going it alone, there are other people out there working to help the cats.
If you are interested in more information on feral cats in Chicago check out TNRChicago.org, which also has some great resources on trapping cats and winterizing tips! You can find more tips for caring for your feral colony this winter at Alley Cat Allies website.