Smokey, the matriarch of the community cats living on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, is an amazing 20 years old!

Smokey, the matriarch of the cat families living along the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey, is still spry at the ripe old age of 20.  She explores the sprawling hidden space beneath the Boardwalk, cuddles each member of her feline family, and enjoys regular meals from her caregiver.

But 20 years ago, Smokey’s life almost took a very different turn. If not for Alley Cat Allies’ Boardwalk Cats Project, she may have spent her last days as a young kitten in an animal shelter.

In 2000, Alley Cat Allies was contacted by Atlantic City caregivers who needed help to defend their community cats. One female cat had already been trapped and killed at the local shelter. Her unweaned kittens were left to die.

width="300"Alley Cat Allies took a stand to raise the voices of these dedicated caregivers and protect Smokey and all the cats living under the famous two-mile-long Boardwalk.

By mobilizing the Atlantic City community and supporters like you, we inspired the city public health department to embrace the humane and effective approach of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). We named our initiative the Boardwalk Cats Project and formed a coalition that includes the Humane Society of Atlantic County and the devoted caregivers. Together, we transformed Atlantic City policies to save all the Boardwalk cats and kittens.

This year, on its 20th anniversary, our Boardwalk Cats Project remains a model for coexistence between cats and people in every community. There’s plenty of reason to celebrate, so we’re planning something special.  Stay tuned for more details at