For years the prevailing wisdom in the United States was that cats should be indoors—even if that meant killing millions of outdoor cats. And even though cats have lived outdoors for thousands of years.

Alley Cat Allies works with shelters around the country to implement life-saving programs for all cats. There are thousands of shelters and animal control agencies, both government operated and private, responsible for the care of animals. We are beginning to see our impact because, today, some shelters realize that they can do things differently and that positive changes benefit shelters, communities, and cats alike. Several shelters across the country are leading the way to serve as examples of how shelters can foster positive policies and programs that save cats’ lives. We have helped them rewrite their ordinances and protocols and educated staff and animal control officers.

Our goal is to change the grim reality that an estimated 70% of all cats who enter shelters nationwide don’t leave the shelter alive. For feral cats–who aren’t socialized to people–that number is often 100%. Alley Cat Allies is working to change those numbers.

The common, yet antiquated animal control system isn’t in line with people’s values. A Harris Interactive Poll found that 81% of the American public would rather leave a cat outside than have her euthanized. Unfortunately, that is not what our shelter system has done in past decades and local ordinances often reinforce or require these tragic outcomes.

The need for our programs is extensive — there are shelters in every state who need our help to restructure. The only way we are going to make a difference is with citizen advocacy and mobilizing those who care about their community and want to change the status quo. Join us.