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Meet the world’s most pampered feral-cat colony!

This feral cat’s ear has been “tipped” to indicate that he or she has been spayed or neutered.

Petfinder is joining with our friends at Alley Cat Allies to celebrate today, Oct. 16 as National Feral Cat Day . (Read a beginner’s guide to feral cats and TNR.) Feral cats are one of the biggest issues facing the animal welfare field, and yet these cats often go unnoticed by the general public.

When moving to a new house in my urban neighborhood, I was concerned about the skittish cats I saw hiding in the backyard before I even set foot in the door. The current resident told me the cats had been around forever and roamed the neighborhood looking for food. He had two incredibly well-cared-for indoor cats of his own, but hadn’t thought to take responsibility for the cats outside.


A winter view of my homemade cat shelters. Black roofs and porches help keep them snow-free.

A year later, we are proud to have a healthy, happy feral-cat colony in our yard. Beautiful handmade cat shelters were last year’s Christmas present from my husband. With a heated water bowl and plenty of food, the cats rarely leave our yard.

Chances are, there are feral cats near you who could your help as well. They live in rural areas, cities and suburbs all across North America. Because of their prevalence, the issue of feral cats can be overwhelming. But by taking responsibility for the “neighborhood cats” in your area, you can make a huge difference — especially if you work with an organization like Alley Cat Allies to implement a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program.

TNR keeps the feral-cat population down and decreases fights, both of which help keep the cats healthy. Take notice of any feral cats in your area and pledge to be an advocate for these often-forgotten felines today.

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