Sunday, October 16, 2016

We're Celebrating National Feral Cat Day - Oct. 16


Ivy looking in from the deck. She left us last summer at age 17.

Today is the 10th Annual National Feral Cat Day sponsored by Alley Cat Allies to create awareness of the feral or community cats living in our midst.  This years theme is All Cats All Communities. To meet the post poster cats Inky, Pearl and Pie click here.


As most of you know by now, our cats are feral cats that were living in the woods behind our farmhouse in the mountains of western NC when we moved in 1999.  Back then most animal shelters euthanized feral cats thinking that was the best way to deal with them.  Ally Cat Allies was the only national group that offered TNR (trap, neuter, return).  I found this group online and contacted them about the best way to help our feral cats. 


With Alley Cat Allies brochures and instructions in hand, I trapped  over 30 cats for TNR.  I found a great veterinarian in our neighborhood who worked with me to get them all spayed/neutered.  Dr. Farmer did the spay/neuter for the local Humane Society (the one who were going to put my cats down) so she gave me their discount.  She was a life saver.  Dr Farmer explained that she drove by these cats every day and felt so bad for them but without consent or assistance from the neighborhood, she was at a loss how to deal with this.  That's where I came in.

The first shelter of straw bales.

It was an ongoing project for about a year or so but we got the cats all neutered.  I built a straw bale igloo as a shelter for the first winter with straw on the ground inside for warmth and a plastic tarp over the top to keep it dry.  That shelter progressed to an old kitchen counter that my husband insulated and out fitted for the cats with a flap door and a raised platform for feeding.

The screen porch on the present cat house.

We had a huge garden on our land and the feral cats kept the garden free of voles, mice and other pests.  They did not let people come too close but I would leave toys for them to pay with - catnip filled ones and balls.  Their favorite was  a plastic Easter egg - it would roll over the grass and was light enough for them to bat around. 


Our neighbors all knew about the cats so would keep an eye on them for us.  Unfortunately other people began to drop off unwanted cats here thinking we would care for them.  We did.  They were trapped and taken to the Dr farmer, then either rehomed if they were tame or released back into the group neutered.

The director of the local shelter did come by one day to see how things were going and was very surprised at how healthy the cats looked.  She had felt that because they had no home, their lives must be so miserable, they would be better off dead.  She came away from this visit with a different perspective on feral/community cats.


Woody on our deck.

Woody now

Many of my original feral cats have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. Those left are living the best life indoors with us in our new home an hour and a half from the farmhouse where they all were born.  Even though the ferals were taken indoors at a late age, they have tamed up quite well with a lot of effort and love.


Please help feral cats in your community today and every day by volunteering for a local feral cat group if there is one, donating money or food for the cats.  Thanks to Alley Cat Allies, so many towns and cities have TNR groups now whereas when I began it was not the norm.  For other ideas about how to help the ferals visit here.

21 comments:

Mariodacat said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for your persistence to help these beautiful babies.
You are their angel!

Brian said...

We so admire all you do for those sweeties! We missed Feral Cat Day but we'll explain why on our post tomorrow. Hugs from all of us.

The Swiss Cats said...

Paws up for helping all these kitties like you do ! Purrs

Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

Cheri, your commitment and devotion to your community cats is inspiring. You've saved thousands of lives. I'm sharing and tagging.

The Island Cats said...

When it comes to feral cats and TNR, you are walking the walk. Thank you. ♥

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Thank you so much for all you've done and all you continue to do for these precious babies.

Maxwell Faraday Richman said...

We LOVE this post. Thanks for what you do on behalf of these kitties!

Summer said...

You've done an amazing job with the ferals you have cared for!

meowmeowmans said...

We are so grateful for all you do for feral cats, Cheri and Don! Much love to you, and all your cats!

Bernadette said...

How wonderful the veterinarian would work with feral cats and help you with that many. And then to show the shelter director how it's done! It was especially wo derful of you to move them. I had about 20 cats in my suburban back yard when I moved in here in 1990 and there were no programs but my vet knew I was rescuing and worked with me. Mowt were pets left behind from renters or put outside because they weren't permitted pets in the first place. Of course, in the days when we still waited until six months, there were kittens. Glad things are changing!

Flynn said...

You are an inspiration for all you have done and continue to do for the cats. Thank you for giving them all love and caring.

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

What an inspiring post. The hay igloo was a great idea and something we could do.

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

An amazing (and inspiring) story. Thank you!

Eastside Cats said...

What a great story! Thank you for caring for the cats! They may not show it, but we know that they are grateful for a full belly and no more fighting, or having kittens. Although my feral pack is only two (with a neighbor's cat added for good measure) right now, I will do anything for them, and if I can trap, then anyone can!

Tails from the Foster Kittens said...

wouldn't it be awesome if one day we no longer had to celebrate this

Anonymous said...

My husband did TNR in our small town for over a dozen years. Sadly, people did not appreciate his hard work. He was harassed, threatened, and had a town ordinance passed against his work. TNR is hard work. There have been no kittens in over 6 years. TNR does work

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

I love your Halloween header and background. Excellent post, thank you for spreading the word about TNR.

Three Chatty Cats said...

Love, love, love what you do for feral cats.

Jans Funny Farm said...

Woody sure looks like a big healthy male. You've done such a great job with all those cats.

Melinda Strain said...

Such a beautiful post!!! Thank you so much for all you do for feral cats!!! Thanks for sharing it with us.
Charlie

Hannah and Lucy said...

Thank you for looking after the feral cats.

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