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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read Becky's Bio
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.
Become a Feral Friend
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.
Learn more about TNR
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.
Build TNR Capacity
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.
Learn About Neuter Clinics
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.
Change Your Community
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.
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
Read the Case Study
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.
Help Cats On Your Campus
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.
Find Out How To Celebrate
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!
Learn About Cats & Wildlife
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.
Check Out the Case Study
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.
Learn About The Program
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 Ordinances
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 Community Relations
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.
Visit Our Veterinary Center
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.
Follow Us on Facebook
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.
Join The Movement
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.