How to save & take care of a kitten and feral cats - an advocacy tool kit

Sample Letters to the Editor

Guide/How-to| Community Change

When an article about cats appears online or in your local paper, it can be a unique opportunity for you to help educate your community! By sending a Letter to the Editor, you can share positive and truthful information about cats or help to debunk any baseless claims about them that could threaten their lives.

These sample Letters to the Editor will give you an idea about how to respond to some of the issues that impact cats every day. These are intended to be helpful examples, so use them as a starting point and adjust them to fit your needs and the situation in your community. Publications have different word count limits for Letters to the Editor, so it is also important to make sure your letter meets those and any other requirements.

For more information on writing and submitting Letters to the Editor, read our How to Write a Letter to the Editor tips.

Topics:

  1. Feeding Bans
  2. Leash Laws
  3. New TNR Program

Sample Letters

Sample Letter to the Editor—Feeding Bans

Headline – Feeding bans for cats don’t work

Letter – [CITY/COUNTY’S] proposed feeding ban for outdoor cats is a useless measure that cannot be enforced. Attempts to starve cats in this way have already failed in many other communities over recent decades and they have never been effective. To achieve positive results, [CITY/COUNTY] must abandon the outdated and archaic idea of feeding bans and move forward by implementing a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program instead.

Through TNR, community cats, also called feral cats, are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (to indicate that they have been neutered and vaccinated), and returned to their outdoor homes. TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats. Studies show that TNR effectively stabilizes the community cat population, reduces the number of cats killed in shelters, and saves taxpayers money. TNR is good for cats and the community.

Even if punitive feeding bans could be effectively enforced, which is a near-impossible and incredibly wasteful prospect for every community, they are cruel and ineffective in managing cat populations. Community cats who have caregivers are accustomed to regular meals, and ripping that away from them is detrimental to their wellbeing. Then there is the human impact that comes from penalizing good Samaritans who are simply making their community a better place for cats and people.

These overwhelmingly negative effects become even more unacceptable when you understand that barring community members from feeding cats does not lower the community cat population. Cats are very attached to their outdoor homes and, rather than leaving, will simply scavenge to find their daily meals. In the process, they will become even more visible—which leads to more calls to animal control.

TNR is the better way. It is widely accepted as a mainstream practice. Hundreds of communities have adopted official TNR ordinances and policies, and thousands more conduct grassroots, volunteer-led programs. They have done so because they know TNR works. [CITY/COUNTY] doesn’t need to implement a feeding ban—it needs to follow a responsible path for its cats by embracing TNR, including supporting it on the grassroots level and ensuring it is protected by local laws.

[NAME]
[ADDRESS]

Sample Letter to the Editor—Leash Laws

Headline – Leash laws for cats don’t work

Letter – The leash law that’s being proposed in [CITY/COUNTY] threatens the lives of all cats in our community. [CITY/COUNTY] must abandon this proposed law and implement a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program instead.

Leash laws that require domestic animals be kept on their owner’s property, and under their owner’s control, are lethal for community cats—unowned cats who live outdoors. The outdoors are home for community cats, also called feral cats, so they do not have owners. These cats are not socialized to people and are therefore unadoptable. So if they are required by law to be brought to shelters, and cannot be returned to their outdoor homes through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, these cats will be killed. This outcome is not only unacceptable to the increasingly humane values of our society, it is incredibly wasteful of taxpayer money and shelter resources.

Leash laws also harm socialized cats who live with people. Since any cat outdoors becomes a target for animal control, even indoor-only cats who have ended up outside may be impounded and killed.

There is no escaping the reality that leash laws lead to cats being killed in animal shelters.
In contrast, TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats. TNR is the process in which community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (to indicate that they have been neutered and vaccinated), and returned to their outdoor homes. Studies show that TNR effectively stabilizes the community cat population, reduces the number of cats killed in shelters, and saves taxpayers money. TNR is good for cats and the community.

TNR is a mainstream approach. Hundreds of communities have adopted official TNR ordinances and policies, and thousands more conduct grassroots, volunteer-led programs. They have done so because they know TNR works. [CITY/COUNTY] doesn’t need to implement a leash law—it needs to follow a responsible path by embracing TNR, including supporting these efforts on the grassroots level and ensuring it is protected by local laws.

[NAME]
[ADDRESS]

Sample Letter to the Editor—New TNR Program

Headline – Good news for cats in our community

Letter – [CITY/COUNTY]’s decision to start a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program is an incredible victory for both the cats and the community. TNR is proven to be highly beneficial for communities, and we all need to do whatever we can to support the program. This is a community effort—and an exciting one!

For those who are not aware of why we should celebrate: TNR is the only humane and effective approach to community cats, also known as feral cats. Through this tried-and-true program, cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped (to indicate that they have been neutered and vaccinated), and returned to their outdoor home.

There are many positive benefits. Studies show that TNR ends the cycle of breeding and stabilizes the cat population. Cats also no longer suffer the stresses of pregnancy and mating behaviors like yowling and fighting. They can live and thrive in their outdoor homes and co-exist peacefully with the people whose community they share.

TNR is also proven and sound public policy. TNR reduces shelter intake, the number of cats killed in shelters, and calls to animal control—all of which saves taxpayer dollars. Instead of wasting money on an endless cycle of impounding and killing cats in shelters, animal control officers and shelter staff can focus on animals in need.

In contrast, the outdated approach of rounding up and killing cats is being increasingly abandoned by animal control officers because it is cruel and ineffective. I do not support the killing of cats. We live in a society that increasingly values humane approaches and will not stand for municipalities that kill cats.

TNR is a mainstream approach. Hundreds of communities just like ours have adopted official TNR ordinances and policies, and thousands more conduct grassroots, volunteer-led programs. They have done so because they know TNR works. [CITY/COUNTY] has taken an incredible step forward and should be applauded. Now it is up to us to help the new TNR program become a lifesaving success.

If you would like to get involved, contact [XXX group or shelter that is carrying out the TNR program] to see if you can help the TNR program in any way. Whether you want to help a cat in your neighborhood through TNR or are willing to volunteer your time, you can make an incredible difference for our community’s cats and kittens!

[NAME]
[ADDRESS]