Washington, D.C., cat advocates are starting their National Feral Cat Day celebration two days early.
National Feral Cat Day is celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 16. But on Thursday, Oct., 14, volunteers from the Washington Humane Society‘s Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program (CatNiPP) will go into neighborhoods across the city to humanely trap feral cats so they can be sterilized and returned to their colonies.
After the cats are captured using humane traps, the cats are taken to the National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Center, where they are sterilized, vaccinated and given a physical exam. They are also ear-tipped — the tip of the ear is cut off while the cat is under anesthesia — which is a nationally recognized symbol that the cat has gone through TNR and is part of a managed colony.
Because feral cats are too fearful of humans to be adopted, the cats are then returned to their outdoor home to live out their days.
According to The Washington Humane Society (WHS), CatNiPP has sterilized more than 4,600 alley cats in the past four years.
The CatNiPP program has helped reduce the alley cat population in the city, said Stephanie Shain, WHS chief operating officer. “Some TNRd colonies have not seen new litters of kittens for several years. Spaying and neutering plays a vital role in stemming the tide of unwanted animals. CatNiPP has become a vital resource for the community — its free and it benefits everyone.”
Each cat that comes through CatNiPP is tended to by caregivers who live in the neighborhoods where the feral cat colonies are and sign an agreement with CatNiPP to provide basic support to the cats once they are returned.
The District of Columbia passed a law called the Animal Protection Amendment Act that went into effect in December of 2008. A provision in the law calls for the District to promote TNR. CatNiPP is an important part of the District’s efforts.
To learn more about National Feral Cat day, visit the Alley Cat Allies website