by Sparkle

National Feral Cat Day is actually October 16, but our untamed brothers and sisters need all the days - and help - they can get. They are scared of humans (often for good reason) and have to fend for themselves, grabbing food from trash bins or catching what they can, suffering through summer heat and winter freezes without a home, and they're constantly at the mercy of predators - any creature from dogs to coyotes to cruel humans who harm them for sport. Often communities shun them and they get captured and sent to the city shelters, where they are guaranteed to be euthanized, since they are wild and not adoptable. It's tough out there for them, and without intervention from kind humans, these cats live short, tragic lives that last only long enough to breed more litters of ferals in an endless cycle of suffering.

I am a big supporter of Alley Cat Allies, and you should be too. Here's why:

  • The whole purpose of this organization is to end the needless killing of feral cats through advocacy, education and support for feral caretakers.
  • They teach people and groups how to set up effective TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) programs. Spaying and neutering feral cats has proven to be the best way of controlling their numbers.
  • They promote and launch programs that support feral cats, and educate the public about how to coexist with their feral communities.
  • They fight public policy that promotes killing feral cats and they support anti-cruelty laws.
  • They have the Feral Friends Network, which links people and organizations that help feral cats.

Plus loads more - visit their website, www.alleycat.org to see all that they do!

You can help feral cats on Feral Cat Day, or any other day, in a lot of different ways: plan a TNR effort, host a workshop to teach others how to help feral cats, or tell your friends and coworkers about ways they can help ferals. Alley Cat Allies has a whole page of suggestions for you. And you can also show your support by taking the Photo Pledge like I did. It's fun.

Feral cats never get to sleep on comfy beds, play with cat toys, eat premium cat food in the privacy of their own kitchens, and they never get to have humans to order around. The occasional kitten is rounded up and tamed before she learns the ways of the street, but adult ferals never make it into someone's home - they either die on the streets or in a shelter. Help them by supporting Alley Cat Allies.

About the Author: Sparkle is one of the original blogging cats; she has been on the internet at www.sparklecat.com since January 2003, posting about issues that are important to her fellow felines - items such as human behavior training, the best toys, and advocating for cats less fortunate than herself. She is also the author of two books, based on her monthly cat-only (no humans!) advice columns. The latest, Dear Sparkle: Cat-to-Cat Advice from the World's Foremost Feline Columnist will be published by Adams Media in August 2010. Sparkle's human, Janiss Garza, is also her editor and a published author herself; her stories have appeared in Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Kittens USA and Dogs USA (don't tell Sparkle about the latter).


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