National Feral Cat Day (and free T-shirts!)

The 13th annual National Feral Cat Day will be celebrated on October 16.  Now, you know I am not a feral cat, but I have seen some on the other side of my window.  I have to say, my life looks pretty good compared to theirs, even when you consider that I have to put up with the Labradumb.

This kitty does not have a couch.

Alley Cat Allies, a national organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, is asking humans to hold events to build humane communities and raise awareness about feral cats and Trap-Neuter-Return.  There’s a lot you people can do to help feral cats, and you can begin by visiting this site to see what events are happening in your area:

Bob went for the TNR option, to help reduce the population of feral cats.

This year’s National Feral Cat Day® Challenge: Help transform your community’s animal pound or shelter. Contact your local shelters to see how you can help.  I guarantee they will have a suggestion for you.

To learn more about National Feral Cat Day, visit:

Leave a comment here about your experiences with feral cats, and two lucky readers will win a free National Feral Cat Day t-shirt.   Your cat can nap on the shirt while you are volunteering at your local shelter.


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16 Responses to National Feral Cat Day (and free T-shirts!)

  1. Amy Orvin says:

    Feral cats are AWESOME!! I have been taking care of 3 feral turned domesticated cats for 2 years now. They are so wonderful to me. I had them all spayed and neutered last summer at The Charleston Animal Society. There names are Macho, Silver and Sweetheart. They spend most of their time on my screened-in porch enjoying toys and Fancy Feast. They listen when I call them for breakfast and dinner and even use the litter box. With a lot of love and time, they have come to trust me and now that I am their mama. I rescue any animal in need no matter how timid. I feel like it’s my mission in life. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  2. Susan says:

    When I lived in New Orleans pre-Katina I had a feral colony in my backyard. They were fed twice a day, just like my indoor cats. The last three kittens born to the last unfixed cat (they are hard to catch!) were all adopted into forever homes, two to my home. Here in the west, I took care of two outdoor cats (both abandoned pets) until they passed away. Now all I have are indoor kitties who have beds and sofas to sleep on

  3. Tess Graham says:

    At our apartments, we just had a feral cat come to give birth to 9 cute kittens. It was really tough catching them all, but now Zombiekitteh (the mom) and one of her kittens (Messed up ear kitteh) are permanent SPAYED residents and have even ventured into my apartment a time or two! They are learning a lot from our community shelter rescue cat, Cat Truth. The three of them hang out at everybody’s apartment depending who is home and cooking!

  4. Bratfink says:

    Boobeleh was from a feral litter under my friend Barry’s front porch. He moved them to inside his barn out of the weather and found homes for all the kittens. Unfortunately, there is no T-N-R here. But one of my elder sisters has a program in the town where she lives and heaven knows how many cats she has helped to trap. A LOT! She is the reason I ever heard about T-N-R. I wish there were NO feral cats, but as long as there are, T-N-R is a good solution.

  5. Sue says:

    In August of 2000, the mother of one of the families that my daughter babysat for heard crying in the bushes. She found a tiny feral kitten whose mother had abandoned him. She called my daughter who was working part time at a veterinarian’s office and asked her for help. My daughter took him to work with her and had him checked out. Then she brought him home to foster. He weighed about 10 ounces and needed to be fed every 2 hours. Since we were all working, my mother agreed to take him in and foster him. She had never had a cat for a pet. Thirteen years later, Leo is still living with my mom and is a healthy happy cat.

  6. Mary Kenny says:

    We actually had a feral cat adopt us. She was born outside and lived on what she could catch. We started feeding her in the yard and eventually set up a bed for her. My cats are strictly house cats and eventually she made friends with them, through a window screen. One day one of my sons opened the back door to feed her and she just walked in and made herself at home. She never even tried to go outside again and only did in a carrier to go to the vet. Even that was under protest. She was proof that a feral cat can become a loving, affectionate indoor cat. She passes away after 14 years. We were blessed, honored and privileged that she chose to share her life with us.

  7. Della says:

    I find it sad when irresponsible owners put unwanted kittens out there to become feral instead of having their own animals fixed. Please spay and neuter your animals. It’s healthier for them in the long run.

  8. Susan B says:

    My late husband once found a tiny baby kitten crying under our house and brought him to me to take care of – he was only a few days old and no others were anywhere around, so we were never sure what happened that he was under there. I raised him, and he was my baby for years, but he had the worst allergies my vet had ever seen – I always figured it was because he didn’t get enough of the antibodies in the mother’s milk. He lived about 8 years, though, and was a joy.

    We began trapping the feral kittens that would show up in our yard (there’s a wooded area at the entrance to our cul-de-sac) because I couldn’t stand to see them hit by cars and chased by dogs all the time. At one point, we had 14 of them in our home, along with 3 we’d taken in from rescue groups. Since my husband died, I’m kept feeding the ones that come to the yard, but I haven’t been trapping them because I don’t have the ability to take so many on. I still have a dozen formerly feral cats in the house, though – the latest acquisition is one I found in my garage after a mother cat moved her litter in there when the door opener got stuck during a thunderstorm. This kitten got herself tangled in a cord from an old mini-blind that was out there, and I had to grab her and take her to the vet to get her untangled. She’s a sweet little fuzzy brown tabby, and tamed right down after I got her home. I couldn’t bear to put her back outside. My vet gives a discount for multiple pets, but I still can’t afford to pay to have an infinite number of them spayed/neutered – and there are always more that show up, probably because there’s a large apartment complex near me and people let their cats run loose.

  9. kristy says:

    Recently my aunt had to move in with a relative to take care of her. She had 5 feral cats in her home. After numerous phone calls and emails on my part, we found the best solution for them. They are happily living as barn cats. All are fixed so no worries there.

  10. tedder says:

    I’ve petted feral cats on three continents. I have scratches to prove it!

    I’m certainly a fan of TNR. Dammit people, kitties need to be spoiled and on couches. Don’t abandon them.

    • Cade DeBois (@cadedebois) says:

      TNR isn’t “abandoning” cats. This is one of the reason education about feral cats and TNR is so important.

      I’ve worked with TNR. What TNR seeks to do is establish stable feral colonies: domesticated cats are naturally social, and will usually form colonies around safe places to rest and eat. TNR programs takes those cats, spays and neuters them to control their numbers, and releases them back to an area they know and will be safe. This is done for two main reasons:

      1) It has been shown that simply removing the cats from an area that attracts ferel cats leaves the space open for new cats to move in. This means the population of cats is always changing rather than establishing a stable feline community, bringing risk of disease and conflict between cats who aren’t accustomed to each other. It also sets up false expectations among humans who think they can just be rid of feral cats, which raises the risks of abuse or killing by humans for any new feral cats moving into that area (because as we all know, humans are such patient, understanding creatures!).

      2) While yes, as a domesticated species, all cats deserve a human to spoil them rotten. But feral cats, which are domesticated cats that have had little to no interaction with humans, range from those that can learn to live indoors to those who can never overcome their fear of humans and would find living so closely to humans a constant source of stress. Most cats only have a short window to learn to tolerate all the nuisances and stresses that come with living with humans–for being touched and held to all the sounds, smells and sights of our human-made dwelllings–and that window usually closes when the cat is between 6 months to a year. For those cats who are fearful and stressed by human interaction and contact, making them pets would actually be cruel. Since it is possible for most feral cats to intergrate into a stable feral colony where they will not be tormented by a close human presence, especially after they have been spayed or neutered, TNR is the best option for these fearful cats.

      I have worked with feral colonies in the past, I’ve rescued countless feral cats and kittens that were able to be socialized (my own Cordelia is one success story and she is indeed a very spoiled Queen of All Things Soft, Warm and Comfy), and for the one that weren’t able to be socialized, I know TNR works. No, it doesn’t create a paradise for these cats, but it helps prevent more feral kittens being born, it reduces the instability created by a constanting breeding population and with creating a more stable feline comunity, it reduces the risk of disease and injury from conflict.

  11. Mary Anne says:

    We gave a forever home to a beautiful boy that was rescued from behind a shopping center when he was a tiny kitten. He was with us for 11 years until kidney disease took him. He had the loudest purr I have ever heard, and loved to snuggle right under the chin of whoever would have him.

  12. Geoff says:

    We had feral cats on the farm since the woman who moved out of the house before us left hers there. We decided it would be better to deal with cats than rats, so we fed them on the porch. Our dogs decided they should eat in the shed instead; so we fed them in the shed. When they had kittens, we tried to get the kittens used to being held and petted. Some will let us hold them; some won’t. One spring all four queens had kittens, but not all of the kittens survived. Those that did are good hunters — we have never had problems with mice in the cattle feed, and many will let me pet them. We fixed the four of those spring kittens when they were about 8 months old (we didn’t have the funds, and the low-cost clinic didn’t have the openings for more). When we had to move across the road, one of the four fixed cats was the first to cross with us. Most but not all of them made it eventually.

    That cat who was the first to cross the road is now living the life of an apartment cat, eating Friskies instead of bluebirds, and sleeping on my bed rather than in a pile of cats by the hay bales.

    When I went to visit last Christmas, one of the queens, the surviving neutered male, and one of the full males all came and sat on my lap when I went out to feed them.

  13. FurKidMom says:

    Both my cats, adopted, had moms who were found “with kitten”, rescued, gave birth and socialized. Rowdy and rambunctious, they are great pets and pals!

  14. kathy smith says:

    Upon moving to a corner of Northwest Arizona 7 years ago, we were immediately struck by the number of feral cats in our small neighborhood. There was one, however, that really seemed to stick nearby our home, and within the first year or so, she probablly had two litters that I can think of. Of her immediate kittens, one almost instantly (or so it seemed) began having kittens of her own. In the middle of all of this, we began feeding these poor skinny little kitties on our porch, therefore they earned the group name of “porch cats”. One day, as I was putting their crunchies out on the porch, and they were dancing around in anticipation, but of course not getting close enough to be touched, I knew that if we didn’t do something quick, we would be feeding thousands of porch cats that all began with one scrawny black mama kitty, who has now become lovingly known as Gramma. One by one we caught the four main porch cats – Gramma, her Daughter BeeBee, then the two kids, Sister and Tiger. Of course, all females. One by one we brought them to the local low cost Spay and Neuter Clinic out of Kingman, AZ. They were spayed, rabies vaccines given and little ears tipped – and one by one they were returned back to the neighborhood. We have had amazing success with all of them, with the exception of one youngster that had the name of “Puppy”, I dont really know what went wrong, but she didn’t survive her recovery. Even with the unfortunate demise of Puppy, I would do it all over again – to know that we have actively reduced a huge chunk of over-population in our area, is very rewarding. The four porch cats are thriving and healthy. They report like clockwork for three meals a day, including milk. They have stuffed mice that we toss to them, and they play like housecats. They come running when I call the herd and they know their names. The only thing they refuse to give in to is a little good-natured ear scratch from me, although my 80 year old mother insists that Sister will consent to a head pat from her alone, although just a little bit. We are all caretakers of the mess we have made on this planet, especially when it comes to all of these abandoned animals, and yes, even abandoned people, although thats a whole different story for a whole different day.

  15. Liz says:

    Here in Springfield MA, I work with the Homeless Cat Project to do TNR in the neighborhood. In my 11 years here we have been lucky to know the following ferals- Mouse, Spirit, Opportunity, Marv, Heathcliff, Diana and Northwest- as neighborhood regulars. We have been able to provide food and shelter in return for their kind mouse and pigeon removal services. And Diana’s three feral babies were successfully domesticated to the point that they know the sound of an electric blanket being turned on. Please give generously to your local TNR programs.

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