1990-1994Taking a Stand: Time for Change

Trap-Neuter-Return has been the accepted way to care for feral cats in Europe since the 1970s. But across the Atlantic, a misguided “indoors only” way of thinking is sending outdoor cats to their deaths in shelters. Alley Cat Allies comes together to develop TNR protocol in America, change
attitudes, and save cats’ lives.

1995–1998Gearing Up and Getting Organized

Alley Cat Allies grows rapidly as an organization and experiences many firsts during this period: staff members, our first office, resident ‘office’ cats, and supporter campaigns. Traveling and disseminating original information and resources, we quickly become recognized throughout the animal protection community as a national force for cats.

1999-2000Proving Our Point:
Landmark Programs

Now a nationally-known resource, Alley Cat Allies focuses heavily on advocacy and developing educational programs. As the organization grows, so does the TNR movement—feral cat groups begin to emerge across the country, using materials and protocols pioneered by Alley Cat Allies.

2001-2006Gaining Momentum:
Mobilizing Advocates

With the full force of the feral cat community behind us, Alley Cat Allies mobilizes our supporter base to respond to threats to cats on a national level. Our victories bring systemic change and we advise major cities as they begin endorsing TNR as policy.

2007-2008Sustainable Change

As Americans’ attitudes toward feral cats improve, Alley Cat Allies launches targeted, community-based programs and campaigns to expand TNR in cities across the country. Alley Cat Allies begins to combat entrenched misconceptions by focusing on research and highlighting
model programs for others to emulate.

2009-PresentProtecting Cats:
We've Only Just Begun

After 20 years making humane cat care common practice in America, Alley Cat Allies sets our sights on changing America’s broken shelter system, which kills 70 percent of the cats who enter it. By educating key demographics, we take on the mindsets and misconceptions that endanger cats.

1990 First Colony

Our co-founder and president, Becky Robinson, is inspired to start Alley Cat Allies after she encounters a colony of feral cats in a Washington, DC, alley.

Read Becky's Bio

1991 Feral Friends Network

Before 1991, Americans caring for cats outdoors were isolated, with no way to find and support each other. By creating The Feral Friends Network, we establish the first national network to connect Americans with local help for humane cat care. Today, our Feral Friends include thousands of experienced trappers, veterinarians, and spay/neuter clinics.

Become a Feral Friend

1994 Focus on Ferals Seminar

Alley Cat Allies brings together feral cat experts and enthusiasts from all over the country and abroad for the very first feral cat conference held in America—the Focus on Ferals seminar in Washington, DC. Wildlife biologist Roger Tabor and veterinarian Dr. Jenny Remfry, both leading international scientific authorities on feral cats, address an American audience about the biology of cats and the benefits of TNR at this groundbreaking conference.

Learn more about TNR

1998 Addressing Animal Control Audiences

Alley Cat Allies introduces humane cat care to the people on the front lines of the shelter system when Becky Robinson is invited to speak at the first ever nonlethal feral cat control discussion at a National Animal Control Association training conference. Becky’s participation demonstrates both the growing momentum behind TNR and Alley Cat Allies’ role as TNR experts.

Build TNR Capacity

1998 Northern Virginia Clinic

We launch and finance a free, monthly clinic for feral cats in Northern Virginia which serves the entire DC metro area—people come from seven states, some from West Virginia. At the time, the Alley Cat Allies Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic is the first and only free spay/neuter service for feral cats in the area. The clinic serves more than 6,500 cats over the next ten years.

Learn About Neuter Clinics

1999-1998 Calling Attention to the Cause

As Alley Cat Allies organizes and steps up efforts to teach America about TNR, the founders travel constantly, challenging the status quo—attending conferences, presenting workshops, distributing materials, and championing TNR for feral cats. While initially met with resistance from established animal control and animal protection groups—and occasionally shunned from conferences for our “radical” ideas—the backlash backfires, attracting further attention to our cause.

Change Your Community

2000 Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project

When Atlantic City’s animal control begins trapping and killing the cats living under the city’s famous Boardwalk, we step in to save them by convincing the public health director to endorse a pilot TNR program. Now called The Boardwalk Cats Project, the model program is still going strong and receives outspoken support from the city government, local businesses, and the community.

Follow the Boardwalk Cats

2000 Norfolk Naval Shipyard Supports TNR

Stopping a trap and kill plan, we are the first animal protection group to have a contract with the military—and TNR is an official, funded program on a US base.

Read the Case Study

2000 Cats on Campus

We launch our Cats on Campus program after hearing from dozens of TNR groups on college campuses across the country. The program recognizes the unique hurdles and needs of feral cat groups working at educational institutions. At the program’s core is the CampusCats listserv, a place for groups to network and connect, share experiences and knowledge, and provide support. Today, the program encompasses institutions from Stanford University to Texas A&M.

Help Cats On Your Campus

2001 First National Feral Cat Day

In honor of the 10th anniversary of our incorporation, we designate October 16 as National Feral Cat Day—a day to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them. The campaign continues to grow every year!

Find Out How To Celebrate

2003 Florida Fish and Wildlife Lawsuit

When the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission adopts a policy that bans TNR and encourages killing cats, Alley Cat Allies takes them to court. Although the suit is ultimately dismissed, the judge rules that the policy is not a formal law that can be enforced. Thanks to Alley Cat Allies bringing this significant suit, thousands of feral cats’ lives are saved and feral cat caregivers in Florida can continue caring for cats unhindered.

Learn About Cats & Wildlife

2004 DC Cat Program

Alley Cat Allies establishes a pilot TNR program, which ultimately revolutionizes feral cat protection in Washington, DC. The pilot program stabilizes targeted local cat colonies so effectively that in 2006, the local humane society embraces TNR and subsidizes a monthly spay/neuter clinic for feral cats. By 2008, the city passes a law that requires animal control to promote TNR for feral cats.

Check Out the Case Study

2007 Every Kitty - Every City

Alley Cat Allies launches our Every Kitty – Every City Program in Baltimore and in four other targeted metropolitan areas: Greater New Orleans, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlantic City. The program raises awareness about low-cost neuter services and builds local networks and support for Trap-Neuter-Return and feral cat care through education, outreach, and organizing.

Learn About The Program

2007 Baltimore Coalition

Alley Cat Allies partners with local groups to form the Spay/Neuter Coalition for a Litter-less Baltimore, working to improve feral cats’ fates in Charm City. The coalition’s first success: revising the ordinance which prevents care for feral cats so that residents can now legally care for (and TNR) colonies. The coalition also establishes monthly seminars; educates local veterinarians on high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter techniques; and works with local animal control to provide resources and address concerns.

Learn About Ordinances

2008 Meadows of Chantilly

After the management of the Meadows of Chantilly community plans to trap and kill a colony of cats who are part of a TNR program, Alley Cat Allies steps in. Rallying over 2,000 local supporters, we convince Meadows to spare the cats' lives and adopt a plan that addresses residents’ concerns through community relations and education.

Learn Community Relations

2009 Veterinary Awareness Campaign

Our Veterinary Awareness Campaign delivers the research, expertise, and protocols we've developed over 20 years to the veterinary community, which is often the first place people turn to help cats. Alley Cat Allies staff travel to veterinary conferences across the country, handing out information and promoting our online Veterinary Resource Center.

Visit Our Veterinary Center

2010 Social Networking

Tapping the potential of social media for activism, Alley Cat Allies kicks our online presence into high gear, reaching out to more than 14,000 Facebook fans and 1,500 Twitter followers daily. Through our online communities, we can now take even swifter action, mobilizing our network to protest threats to cats as soon as harmful programs or policies are announced. But our online presence is not all business—every Friday, our office cats appear in our extremely popular LOLcats.

Follow Us on Facebook

2011 20th Anniversary

Alley Cat Allies celebrates 20 years of advocating, educating, campaigning, and demonstrating the humane treatment of stray and feral cats in America.

Join The Movement
  • 1992 Fun Facts

    Saturday Night Live star Kevin Nealon and his wife Linda represent us as celebrity spokespeople.

  • 1993 TNR Status

    The San Francisco SPCA adopts Trap-Neuter-Return as its feral cat policy.

  • 1991 Publications

    The first issue of Alley Cat Action newsletter comes out— it’s still going strong today!

  • 1991 Org Status

    Alley Cat Allies is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

  • 1990 Staff & Cats

    Becky Robinson co-founds Alley Cat Allies. Shortly after, vice president Donna Wilcox comes onboard.

  • 1995 Fun Facts

    We appear in Phil Frank’s syndicated Farley strip, while his feral cat character “Orwell” gives a voice to the growing TNR movement.

  • 1995 TNR Status

    Trap-Neuter-Return gains recognition at American Humane Society/Cat Fanciers Association scientific panel. As experts, we present a statement.

  • 1995 Publications

    Our printed factsheets on TNR and feral cats are the first mass-produced—and reproduced by others— resources on these topics in America.

  • 1998 Org Status

    Alley Cat Allies opens our first office, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

  • 1998 Staff & Cats

    Resident cats Jazzy and Jared (from a feral cat colony in Maryland), and Coo (an FIV-positive stray) join the staff.

  • 2001 Fun Facts

    Cat Fancy lists the founding of Alley Cat Allies among its 100 Great Moments for 20th Century Cats.

  • 1999 TNR Status

    With our help, Brevard County, Florida, passes a landmark ordinance in support of Trap-Neuter-Return.

  • 2000 Publications

    Alley Cat Allies launches FeralPower!, our email action alerts, enabling activists to take immediate action to protect feral cats.

  • 2000 Org Status

    Alley Cat Allies celebrates 10 years defending the lives of America’s cats and the rights of their caregivers.

  • 2000 Staff & Cats

    Our staff numbers shoot into double digits—10 full-timers, working on behalf of feral cats.

  • 2004 Fun Facts

    Nicole Sullivan of MADtv wins Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, naming Alley Cat Allies as her charity to receive the $100,000 prize.

  • 2005 TNR Status

    When the Wisconsin Conservation Congress tries to legalize hunting outdoor cats, we harness national outcry and defeat the recommendation.

  • 2004 Publications

    Alley Cat Allies publishes TNR: Past, Present, and Future; a History of the Trap-Neuter-Return Movement by Ellen Perry Berkeley.

  • 2005 Org Status

    Alley Cat Allies organizes an emergency base camp and rescues hundreds of cats after Hurricane Katrina.

  • 2002 Staff & Cats

    Our royal tabby trio—Charles, Diana, and Fergie—join the staff as kittens from a Washington, DC, colony.

  • 2008 Fun Facts

    Feral cats go mainstream—with feature articles about Trap-Neuter-Return in USA Today and The Washington Post.

  • 2007/2008 TNR Status

    In two landmark cases, defendants face cruelty charges for killing feral cats in Galveston, Texas, and Richmond, Virginia.

  • 2007 Publications

    Our groundbreaking survey shows that over 80% of Americans believe it is more humane to leave a cat outside than have her caught and killed.

  • 2007 Org Status

    We co-found the National Capital Area Spay & Neuter Center, the first high-volume spay/neuter clinic in the DC region.

  • 2008 Staff & Cats

    Alley Cat Allies introduces Frank the Feral, our eartipped tuxedo cat mascot, to represent feral cats everywhere.

  • 2009 Fun Facts

    Celebrities including Portia de Rossi, Angela Kinsey, and Paula Poundstone join the “I’m an Alley Cat Ally” Campaign.

  • 2010 TNR Status

    Trap-Neuter-Return is official policy in cities and counties across the country, including Washington, DC, Chicago, Illinois, and now Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  • 2009 Publications

    Our research on the neuter status of cats in US households is published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • 2010 Org Status

    Alley Cat Allies celebrates 250,000 supporters.

  • 2010 Staff & Cats

    Mischievous black cat Oliver joins the staff from our Atlantic City colony as our resident paper shredder.