Have some champagne ready? We hope so, because there are some incredible accomplishments we at Alley Cat Allies want to celebrate with you! And yes, they all happened in 2020—which was also our 30th year in action.
Because even as the world seemed to stop in its tracks in so many ways, we didn’t let it stop us from coming together (while staying apart) to do remarkable things for animals when they needed us most.
Here are 9 of the biggest ways we made an impact together for cats and kittens in 2020. None of this would have happened without you, and we can’t thank you enough for standing up with us to save cats’ lives.
1. COVID-19 Relief
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Alley Cat Allies has provided support and guidance to communities across the country to protect cats. Our relief grants reached more than 50 communities in states including California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, Nevada and Minnesota, giving organizations and caregivers the means to save cats’ lives.
Veterinary care, food, vaccinations, kitten nursery assistance—our support made it all possible at a time when supplies, staffing, and funding shortages abounded.
2. Keeping Families TogetherTM
Keeping Families TogetherTM, a campaign we launched as soon as COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., has supplied cat and dog food and cat litter to communities nationwide, including Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
We know that millions of people consider the animals they care for family. Keeping Families Together assists those who are struggling and relying on food banks so they can keep their animal family members in their homes and continue caring for community cats. In the process, we’ve helped prevent animals from entering shelters, where they could be killed.
In Florida, we went a step further, developing an innovative model to provide animal food in food pantries that historically only served people.
3. Leadership In a Time of Uncertainty
Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 resource page served as a critical information hub to help community cat caregivers, companion animal owners, and animal professionals protect cats and kittens while observing pandemic safety guidelines.
In 2020, we held webinars on caring for cats and fundraising in the COVID-19 era, drafted guidelines for veterinary care, sheltering, and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) during the pandemic, and compiled a state-by-state list of animal food banks that can provide support when it is needed most.
And with spay and neuter services limited on an unprecedented level, we spread the word about megestrol acetate (M.A.), an oral contraceptive that prevents pregnancy in female cats.
4. Swift Disaster Response
COVID-19 was not the only disaster to sweep the nation in 2020. When historic wildfires raged through California and Oregon, tornadoes rocked Tennessee, and hurricanes hit one after another in Louisiana, Alley Cat Allies rushed emergency funding and support to hundreds of cats and kittens in impacted communities.
5. Defeating Dangerous Legislation
Alley Cat Allies did not stand by as cats and kittens were put in danger by harmful policies in 2020.
After learning that the City of Jefferson, Iowa, where we previously stepped in to address the shooting of cats, was considering another lethal cat policy, we took action to block it. By rallying our supporters to join us in speaking out, we convinced the City to strike the policy and turn its attention to humane, proven approaches.
When the City of Casper, Wyoming, nearly enacted a feeding ban to starve cats living outdoors, we rushed in to help local advocates take a stand. Together, we convinced the City Council to drop the cruel proposal, and now we’re assisting the community as they implement a TNR program.
6. Championing Nonlethal Approaches for Cats
If the pandemic has affirmed one thing, it’s the importance of thinking outside the box to make the most positive change. Alley Cat Allies’ leadership, support, and humane education helped communities across the country move nonlethal programs and policies forward in 2020—including Pittsylvania County and the Twin County region of Virginia.
7. Outreach on an International Level
In 2020, our Cat Help Desk received DOUBLE the requests for help from any previous year. Record-setting numbers of people stepped up to advocate and care for cats, and we provided them with the information, guidance, and support they needed.
Our Feral Friends Network® grew even amid the challenges of COVID-19, representing dedicated cat experts serving their communities in multiple countries around the world.
Alley Cat Allies also worked, and continues to work, with advocates in countries from Spain to Thailand to Vietnam to save cats’ lives and implement humane and effective programs for feline community members.
8. Hands-On Care
This year, our team members provided hands-on, direct care to cats and kittens based on their individual needs, saving the lives of Spruce, Oakley, Wynona, Luke, and many more. From daring tree rescues to TNR efforts to ongoing work in the 20th year of our Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project®, we provided targeted aid, spay and neuter, and any other necessary veterinary treatment and supplies.
Some of the cats and kittens were adopted, and even helped their new families through isolation brought on by the pandemic. Others are thriving in their outdoor homes, their lives improved through TNR.
9. Spreading Awareness and Knowledge
Alley Cat Allies created and updated cutting-edge resources in 2020 to provide insight into cats’ behavior and advance approaches that have their best interests at heart. On our YouTube channel, you can find our video about the vacuum effect, explaining why rounding up and killing cats outdoors will never effectively reduce their populations.
We also published an in-depth guide on the Cat Socialization Continuum, detailing cats’ unique relationships with humans and how understanding them can empower us to save their lives. In addition, you can find lifesaving information on how to approach a nursing mother cat while practicing TNR, and how to safely trap in cold weather.
Have you ever come across a person who thinks returning a community cat to her outdoor home is abandonment, or believes a cat who tested positive with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) shouldn’t be adopted? We streamlined our resources to give you the information and answers you need to address these situations.
And to save the most vulnerable kittens, Alley Cat Allies launched our Leave Them Be® campaign in the first half of 2020. With help from our COVID-19 relief funding, a Leave Them Be program started up immediately in Northern California.
Thank You for Everything You Do for Cats
As we remember all our success in 2020, Alley Cat Allies is charging forward with big plans for 2021. The road ahead is filled with opportunities to save lives, groundbreaking legislation to pass, and justice to be served on behalf of cats. We know we can achieve it all with our compassionate community of supporters at our side.
Thank you for your dedication to defending cats—and Happy New Year!