Hey guys. Wally here…along with Ernie. We’ve got something special to talk about today. It’s Global Cat Day…or what used to be called National Feral Cat Day. Alley Cat Allies, the group that started Feral Cat Day back in 2001, has changed the name to reflect what this day really means…engaging people WORLDWIDE and sharing information about protecting cats in their communities. It’s a day to educate people about feral cats…or what Alley Cat Allies calls community or outdoor cats…and promote programs like Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR), and recognize the millions of people who care for community cats. Alley Cat Allies is the only advocacy organization that is dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of community cats.
Logo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies
Most of you are familiar with TNR…Trap-Neuter-Release. Community cats are humanely trapped, taken to a veterinarian where they’re spayed or neutered, vaccinated and eartipped (the universal sign that a cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to their outdoor home. TNR saves cats’ lives, and it’s a proven method of stabilizing and reducing populations of community cats. More and more cities and towns are recognizing that TNR really does work. But more needs to be done until TNR is the only acceptable way to care for community cats.
In honor of Global Cat Day, we wanna update you on our TNR success story…Chip and Slim…the garden center cats. We’ve told you before about Chip and Slim…two cats that showed up one day a few years ago at the dad guy’s garden center.
The dad-guy decided to let them stay…and he and the mom trapped them, got them neutered and then released them back outside. Though they are predominantly outdoor cats, they have access to an unheated garage area at the garden center that’s filled with bales of straw and some heated blankets.
Chip and Slim are doing great these days…enjoying the nice fall weather we’ve been having lately.
Slim has been busy checking out the plants in the nursery…making sure they’re being properly cared for.
When he’s sure everything is under control, he takes a break on one of the carts.
Here’s Chip in the nursery…relaxing in a pot…and enjoying the sunshine. These two certainly take their duties as garden center cats seriously, don’tcha think?
Both cats are getting braver and have been coming into the store more often. They’re friendlier towards humans, though they’re still a little skittish. It’s questionable whether Chip and Slim were really feral cats or just a couple of strays that lost their way.
Y’know…many people don’t really understand the difference between a true feral cat or a stray. Here are some of the differences (according to Alley Cat Allies):
- A stray cat is one that has been around humans at some point and has been socialized, but for some reason lost its home as well as its dependence on humans.
- Over time, a stray can become a feral cat if it continues to have no contact with humans.
- Under the right circumstances, a stray cat can become a pet cat again. It can be re-introduced into a home after being outside for awhile, but may require time to acclimate to living inside.
- A feral cat is one that has either never had any contact with humans or its contact with humans has lessened over time. A feral is fearful of people and survives on its own. A feral cat is not likely to become a lap cat or be able to live indoors. Though we feel that some feral cats, under the right circumstances, can be socialized and learn to live inside. This is particularly true for feral kittens.
Well, Chip and Slim have become more accustom to humans…and even enjoy a good belly rubbing or head scratching occasionally. They have quite the life at the garden center. They may not have all the comforts of an inside cat…but they get good food regularly, have a nice sheltered area, and people who care about them.
Chip and Slim are two examples of how TNR can work for outdoor cats.
Photo courtesy of Alley Cat Allies