This month officially marks our 30th anniversary! Our mission from the very beginning those three decades ago has been to advocate for cats and defend them whether they live indoors with us or outdoors with their feline families. Today, we have made tremendous progress in transforming society to value all cats, every one of whom is special and deserves to be protected.
This movement—now global in scale—is as much yours as it is ours. Every lifesaving law we help pass, mind we change, and community we set on the humane path is possible because of people like you who care deeply about advocating for cats and taking action to save their lives.
So, as we celebrate 30 years of groundbreaking work, we want to inspire you to join us as an even more powerful voice for cats. Below are 30 opportunities for you to help cats and kittens in your community. Some involve getting hands-on, while others can be done from the comfort of your couch. Pick whichever action suits you best!
5 Ways to Give Hands-on Help to Community Cats
- Do Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). We’ve championed TNR for 30 years for a reason! It is the only humane and effective approach to community cats, and everyone can and should do it. We have an in-depth guide to get you started at alleycat.org/TNRGuide.
- Become a community cat caregiver. Nothing beats a one-on-one relationship with a community cat. Cat caregivers provide community cats with regular food, water, and outdoor shelter—and get a lot of love and fulfillment in return. We’ll help you get started, or brush up on cat caregiver best practices, at alleycat.org/BestPractices.
- Leave Them BeTM. When you find young kittens outdoors, the best way you can help in most cases is to allow them to stay with their mother in their outdoor home. Even if you don’t see her, their mother is likely nearby, and she is their best caregiver. You can help the whole family by providing outdoor cats with food, water, an outdoor shelter, and a watchful pair of eyes. Learn more at alleycat.org/LeaveThemBe.
- Have a Kitten Care Kit ready. Though most kittens outdoors don’t need us to intervene, some DO need our hands-on help. For example, kittens who don’t have their mother with them. By building a Kitten Care Kit based on our guidelines, you can stay prepared to provide lifesaving care. Get started at alleycat.org/KittenCareKit.
- Build an outdoor cat shelter. Even if you aren’t caring for community cats, you can build shelters and donate them to rescue groups or other caregivers in your area. Alley Cat Allies has a gallery of outdoor shelter options, and ways to build your own as a project, at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery.
5 Ways to Protect and Advocate for All Cats
- Speak out against cat declawing. More and more communities are recognizing cat declawing as an outdated and harmful practice and are passing laws to ban it. You can add your voice against declawing at alleycat.org/StopDeclawing.
- A microchip for every cat. Make sure all of the cats in your home and community cats you care for outdoors are microchipped and help promote accessible microchipping (and scanning!) in your community. Learn more at alleycat.org/MicrochipsSaveLives.
- Learn how to speak cat. When you know what a cat is trying to tell you with her body language and behavior, you can meet her needs and build a better relationship based on trust and respect! Educate yourself on cat communication and language at alleycat.org/SpeakCat.
- Speak out against and report animal cruelty. Every state in the U.S. has laws against animal cruelty, but we still have work to do to ensure they are all strong and enforced.Learn more about animal cruelty at alleycat.org/AntiCruelty, watch our webinar on understanding animal cruelty laws and taking action, read our resource on how to report cruelty offenses, and sign our petition to stand against and report all acts of cruelty.
- Create a disaster plan. Save lives by planning ahead to protect the cats in your home and community cats outdoors in the event of a natural disaster. Our disaster preparation tips and guides are here to help. Find and share them at alleycat.org/DisasterResponse.
5 Ways to Change Your Community
- Understand your local cat laws. When you know how cats in your community are impacted by your local laws, you’ll know whether something needs to change to better protect them. We have a guide to finding your local laws at alleycat.org/FindCatLaws.
- Push for laws that protect cats. You have the power to advocate for local laws that defend cats and against laws that harm them. We have a toolkit with the basics in lobbying that will prepare you for any advocacy situation at alleycat.org/AdvocacyToolkit.
- Educate your local decision-makers. Don’t wait until community cats are an agenda item. Teach your local elected officials about cats and TNR and encourage them to enact policies that protect and improve cats’ lives. We have a guide at alleycat.org/Organizing.
- Sign up for Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Friends Network®. We’ve brought the most dedicated community cat experts and advocates together to form our Feral Friends Network. If you have community cat expertise to share, please sign up to become a member at alleycat.org/FeralFriends.
- Learn how to talk to neighbors. Every time a neighbor approaches you with questions or concerns about cats, it’s an opportunity to have a discussion and even gain an ally in your advocacy! Learn how to talk to your community about cats, including troubleshooting any conflict, at alleycat.org/CommunityRelations.
5 Ways to Educate Others About Cats
- Hand out Alley Cat Allies educational materials. We’ve created eye-catching and informative brochures, posters, and more on the many topics that impact cats. You can download free PDFs of these materials anytime or purchase them through our shop to distribute in your community. All can be found at alleycat.org/Shop.
- View and share our webinars. It’s always good to have a little one-on-one learning time, and that’s what our online webinars provide. We cover a variety of topics from kitten care to TNR to protecting cats during COVID-19. Share them with friends, family, and anyone who cares for cats by visiting alleycat.org/Webinar.
- Share the truth that cats are at home outdoors. We have information, factsheets, and studies to help you set the record straight and educate your community about community cats and their place in our world. Find it all at alleycat.org/CatsAndWildlife.
- Write an editorial for your local paper. Each time an article appears about community cats, or cats in general, it’s an opportunity to write a letter to the editor and educate readers! We have letter to the editor templates at alleycat.org/LTE.
- Share our COVID-19 Resource Hub. This webpage is packed with information to help you care for cats as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues. You’ll find a state-by-state list of animal food banks, resources for community cat caregivers, and much more at alleycat.org/Coronavirus.
5 Ways to Transform Your Local Animal Shelter
- Obtain animal shelter records. When you have the facts about outcomes for animals in your local shelter–like how many cats are adopted or killed–you’ll know if you need to advocate to make changes that save cats’ lives. We have a guide at alleycat.org/GetShelterRecords.
- Promote feline-friendly practices at your local shelter. These include improving community education programs, refusing to accept community cats into shelters, and providing free or low-cost spay and neuter services for the public. We have an activist toolkit for you at alleycat.org/ShelterToolkit.
- Give shelters lifesaving blueprints. With our partners at Humane Network, Alley Cat Allies created cutting-edge resources to help shelters adopt policies and programs that save cats rather than killing them. Supply these to your local shelter by visiting alleycat.org/ShelterSeries.
- Support/Participate in a Wait Until 8® campaign. Through Wait Until 8, animal shelters can empower community members to care for young kittens themselves until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and adopted. Encourage your shelter to adopt Wait Until 8 with the information at alleycat.org/WaitUntil8.
- Encourage your shelter to Plan to Scan®. All animal shelters should have a policy to immediately scan cats for microchips when they enter their doors. That way, there’s a better chance cats can be reunited with their families. Share the information at alleycat.org/PlanToScan.
5 Ways to Be Part of Alley Cat Allies’ Movement
- Donate. Your generosity means we can be there for cats and kittens in need — whether it’s providing humane care in disaster situations, helping shelters save more cats, or advocating for cat-friendly laws and policies. Learn more at alleycat.org/Donate.
- Stay in the loop. Sign up for our updates on critical issues affecting cats, including our monthly eNews packed with important cat information, at alleycat.org/SignUp. To stay even more in-the-know, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and watch our YouTube Channel.
- Join our Cat-alyst Society. We couldn’t do all we do for cats without the compassion and support of our incredible Cat-alyst Society. You can help us build a better future for cats, too, by joining at alleycat.org/CATalyst.
- Get ready for Global Cat Day®. October 16 is the day we mobilize those around the world to take a stand for cats and kittens. In many communities, cats are still rounded up and killed. This Global Cat Day, we’re going to rally existing and budding advocates to take on the remaining threats to cats’ lives. Watch for more information at GlobalCatDay.org
- Foster and adopt a cat or kitten. You could open up to your home to an Alley Cat Allies cat or kitten! Learn if you qualify at alleycat.org/Adopt. If you don’t live in any areas where we need help, consider fostering for or adopting from your local shelter.
Whether you do just one or all 30 of these actions, know that you are making a positive impact for cats and kittens. The effort of each and every one of us matters and helps build a world where every cat’s life is valued and protected. If we all commit to taking these steps, imagine how many cats’ lives we’ll save in the next 30 years!