Every year, the Alley Cat Allies Cat Help Desk receives thousands of calls on a wide variety of questions related to cats and how best to protect them. In addition, we receive a large number of urgent calls from people worried about a newly discovered litter of kittens, an injured cat, community cats in danger of being removed from their outdoor homes, and many other scenarios in which cats are facing risk.
They call us because we are the experts. They call us because they trust us.
This amazing resource, powered by your generosity, helps these advocates save cats, pass laws protecting cats, and shift hearts and minds in their communities. We’ve saved millions of cats with initiatives like our Cat Help Desk. Each life we save helps build a world where all cats are valued and protected.
In this issue is the story of Junior, a few dozen of her feline friends, and the compassionate people we brought together to help them.
When we began 30 years ago, most people’s first instinct when they spotted an outdoor cat was to either bring the cat to their local shelter or call animal control to have the cat picked up. The outcome for these cats was almost always death. Shelters knew that most community cats were unadoptable, but they did not offer nonlethal control such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
Too many shelters still kill community cats today, but immense progress has been made. More than 700 communities in the United States. have embraced TNR, the method of returning cats who have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped to their outdoor homes. Alley Cat Allies is working to bring about a time when local animal control and shelters in all communities are committed to positive outcomes for all cats including feral cats.
Until then, it remains critical to proceed with caution before bringing a cat to a local shelter. Confirm that they do not impound and euthanize cats. If you are unsure who to turn to in your community to get help for a cat about whom you are worried, contact our Cat Help Desk.
It was through one such call that we came to know Junior, a sweet black and white tuxedo cat.
Junior was one of about 30 cats being cared for by James, a military veteran. While Junior may be an unusual name for a female cat, it does not seem to bother her one bit. What was bothering Junior greatly was her severely injured leg. Desperately worried about Junior, James called the Alley Cat Allies Cat Help Desk.
We tapped into our Feral Friends Network®, a roster of amazing people who lend a hand to others working to save and improve cats’ lives. To help Junior, we called on Tom Conerly, a former animal control officer in a neighboring community. A few years ago, we helped Tom establish a TNR group, the Orange Beach Animal Care & Control Program. This TNR program has saved hundreds of cats.
Tom was happy to hear from us and happy to help. He connected us with a veterinarian, who recommended removing Junior’s injured leg so she could live her best life. Today, Junior, now named Ethel, is fully recovered in her forever homewith Tom!
We reached out to another local Feral Friends Network member, the Azalea City Cat Coalition, to implement a TNR program for the 30 community cats in Junior’s former colony. We set up feeding stations and comfortable outdoor shelters, which they very much enjoy. James does, too!
As wonderful as this turned out for Junior, her colony, James, and Tom, what is truly spectacular is that their story is one of thousands of lifesaving outcomes we are able to bring about every year, all around the world, because supporters like you make our programs possible. Thank you for standing with us, this year and every year.