Guide/How-to| Community Change

These sample letters to the editor offer an excellent way to educate the public about outdoor cats on National Feral Cat Day and all year round.

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

Sample Letters

National Feral Cat Day

October 16 is National Feral Cat Day—a day to think about the outdoor cats in our neighborhoods. Feral cats exist in every community. They live healthy lives outdoors in family groups called colonies. They are the same species as domestic cats, but are not socialized to humans and can’t be adopted. Virtually 100 percent of feral cats brought to shelters or pounds are killed there. In fact, shelters are the leading cause of death for the nation’s cats.

This National Feral Cat Day, cat lovers nationwide are partnering with their shelters to change their community’s approach to feral cats. The best way shelters can help is by not accepting feral cats since they can’t be adopted—and instead starting a Trap-Neuter-Return program to humanely trap, sterilize, and vaccinate cats before returning them to their outdoor home.

Trap-Neuter-Return is the only humane and effective approach to feral cats. That’s why there has been a tenfold increase in the number of local governments with pro-Trap-Neuter-Return ordinances within just the past decade. Alley Cat Allies’ website ( is a great resource on Trap-Neuter-Return and working with local shelters to save cats’ lives.

[Your name]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

Community Relations

Our community should know that Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats is a win for the cats and their human neighbors. Trap-Neuter-Return improves the lives of the cats and calms the neighbors. Animal control’s traditional method, catch and kill, is cruel, endless, and costly. Trap-Neuter-Return makes feral cats healthier and ends the breeding cycle, which means no more kittens. It also ends a lot of common behaviors associated with outdoor cats. Yowling, fighting, spraying and roaming—all of these are mating behaviors that stop once a cat is neutered.

A managed Trap-Neuter-Return program, with a set feeding area and schedule, further discourages roaming. Simple home remedies—citrus peels, decorative rocks or chicken wire—deter cats from digging in gardens. There are also a few useful commercial products available at most pet shops that humanely deter cats from areas like gardens and porches.

Outdoor cats have been part of our landscape for thousands of years and always will be. Compassionate and effective solutions to help cats and communities coexist peacefully are readily available. I urge you to visit for more information.

Millions of cats are being killed

Americans would probably be shocked to learn that being killed in an animal shelter is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States. That’s right – over 70% of cats who enter animal shelters are killed. And nearly all feral cats brought to shelters are killed right away, because while feral cats are the same species as companion cats and are healthy, they are not socialized to humans and cannot be adopted into homes.

It’s time to put an end to animal control practices that rely on catch and kill. Not only is it cruel, it is expensive and our tax and donor dollars are funding it. Catch and kill is also not supported by a majority of Americans, according to an Alley Cat Allies survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

Cities across the country are realizing that rather than endless catch and kill, our tax dollars and donations would be much better spent on Trap-Neuter-Return for outdoor cats and low-cost spay and neuter for all cats. Now it’s our community’s turn. I urge you to visit and educate yourself on the true cost of lethal animal control.


Humans are to blame for the declining bird species and habitat destruction. Numerous studies have repeatedly found that the primary cause of bird population decline is rampant development and related pollution, which destroy bird habitats and sources of food. An Ohio State University study concluded that urbanization is the chief cause of declining populations of migratory birds. A 2005 study by the U.S. Forest Service estimates that six times more birds are killed annually by flying into buildings and power lines than by cats.

It is indisputable that being killed in a shelter is the number one documented cause of death for cats in the United States, due to failing and inhumane animal control policies that rely on catch and kill. It’s bad public policy based on bad science. Trap-Neuter-Return for outdoor cats is a humane method of care and a responsible program. I urge readers to visit for more information.