Jackson Galaxy and Jill Rappaport Team Up to Promote Feral Cat Awareness

by Patrick Mahaney on November 14, 2014

Jackson Galaxy and Jill Rappaport Team Up to Promote Feral Cat AwarenessThis article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News (hyperlinked to http://www.pet360.com/blog/pet-lebrity-news) column on Pet360.com as Jackson Galaxy and Jill Rappaport Team Up to Promote Feral Cat Awareness.

 Are you a kitty aficionado, cat lady (or guy), or general feline fancier? In my veterinary practice I primarily have canine patients, but I do treat a few special felines who present me with a variety of interesting diagnostic and treatment challenges.

As not all cats spend their days having a close relationship with their caretakers, we must consider the presence of feral cats among those needing food, shelter, and medical care by individual owners and rescue organizations.

Whats a Feral Cat?

Feral cats are not simply our feline companions having day-to-day lives spending time both indoors and outdoors. According to Conscious Cat, feral cats are “descendants of a domesticated cat that have returned to the wild. Feral cats are born in the wild, as opposed to stray cats, who are usually cats who have been lost or abandoned.”

Alley Cat Allies gives some helpful statistics about feral cats:

    •       Cats have lived outdoors for more than 10,000 years.

    •       In the last decade, the number of local governments with official policies endorsing Trap-Neuter-Return has increased TENFOLD.

    •       More than 70% of all cats who enter shelters are killed there, including virtually 100% of feral cats.

    •       Feral cats can have the same lifespan as pet cats.

    •       The nation’s animal shelter system is the #1 cause of death for cats.

    •       More than 40% of Americans have fed an outdoor cat.

    •       More than 80% of Americans think it’s more humane to leave a stray cat where he is to live out his life than to have him caught and killed.

Who Takes Care of Feral Cats?

Typically, a cat-loving individual or philanthropic organization dedicates time, expertise, and resources to feed and provide veterinary care for feral cats.  Yet, feral cats can be hard to catch or contain and therefore don’t typically have a regular schedule of examinations with a veterinarian for basic wellness practices like undergoing spay or neuter surgery.  As a result, feral cats have the seemingly endless opportunity to reproduce and increase the cat population in the location in which they reside.

Fortunately, Alley Cat Allies exists to help manage the one of the primary issues facing feral cat colonies around the U.S. and abroad: population control.  Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) endeavors permit feral cats to live as driven by their genetics (i.e. their sheer will to live outside and seeming refusal to accept domestication by humans) while ensuring colony numbers don’t get out of control.

Alley Cat Allies reports “in the last decade, the number of local governments with official policies endorsing Trap-Neuter-Return has increased TENFOLD.”  TNR is vitally important, as “more than 70% of all cats who enter shelters are killed there, including virtually 100% of feral cats.”  Additionally, shelter based euthanasia (being “put to sleep”…i.e. death) is “#1 cause of death for cats.”

How is Awareness Being Raised?

To raise awareness of TNR and issues affecting feral felines, Alley Cat Allies founded National Feral Cat Day in 2001.  This year’s event falls on October 16, 2014 and is themed “TNR: From the Alley…to Main Street.”

To draw attention to National Feral Cat Day, celebrities have gotten involved.  Jackson Galaxy, eponymous Cat Daddy and star of Animal Planet’s hugely successful and multi-season show My Cat From Hell, is obviously a huge lover of cats and advocate for their welfare.  Galaxy teamed with Alley Cat Allies to create the following YouTube video: Jackson Galaxy – National Feral Cat Day® 2014 – TNR: From the Alley…To Main Street

I’ve worked with Galaxy on four seasons of My Cat From Hell (see petMD’s The Daily Vet article: A Veterinarian’s Perspective on Treating a Cat from Hell) and am a fan of his efforts to educate the general public about cats’ need for regular veterinary examinations and the link between bad feline behavior and underlying medical problems.

Additionally, NBC’s The Today Show and Nightly News reporter and animal advocate Jill Rappaport is heralding the National Feral Cat Day cause. “Goodnewsforpets.com (GNFP) is sponsoring its 6th drawing at the upcoming NYC Re-tails and Sales Expo of a stunning sterling silver and amethyst Heart-Paw necklace by Elena Kriegner, custom designed exclusively for GoodNewsforPets.com.  A donation will also be given in honor of the winner to Jill Rappaport’s Pies 4 Paws™ campaign to the shelter of the winner’s choice.”

I’m also pleased to hear that the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists is also involved with National Feral Cat Day, as their book “Decoding Your Dog” is being given away during an hourly drawing on October 16th from 2-8PM at New York City’s The Hotel Pennsylvania at the GNFP booth.

You suspect a feral cat colony exists in your neighborhood, reference Alley Cat Allies’ Get Help webpage for advice on how to best address the situation.

If you are joining the Feral Cat Day conversation on Twitter, please make sure to use #FeralCatDay in your posts.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

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