National Feral Cat Day -- recognized internationally on October 16 -- is not a day to celebrate your stray neighborhood cat. Rather, it is a day set in place for the world to recognize a growing feral cat pandemic.
National Feral Cat Day is a day of action created by Alley Cat Allies to call attention to the issue and to help neighborhoods find ways to manage their feral cats. Since the day's inception 12 years ago Alley Cat Allies reports a large increase in communities that have adopted humane and effective methods for dealing with the cats.
A feral cat is a wild cat that, unless very young, cannot be adopted. The cats typically live in colonies with 3-75 other feral cats. They prey upon local wildlife, frequently reproduce, and often starve to death or get hit by cars.
Feral cats are a worldwide issue with many countries, including Australia and New Zealand, reporting their number of free-roaming cats to be in the millions. The Humane Society estimates that there are as many as 50 million feral and stray cats in the United States alone.
The most commonly accepted way to manage feral cats, without resorting to killing them, is with the Trap, Neuter, and Return program. The fixed cats are left to live out the rest of their lives while not contributing to an expansion of the problem.
What can you do?
- Learn about feral cats and ways to manage and care for them.
- Visit nationalferalcatday.org for a listing of Feral Cat Day events in your area.
- Find a local feral cat group to volunteer with or make a donation to.
Photo credit: Ally Cat Allies