Skip to content Skip to navigation

Katie Lisnik

Katie Lisnik is the Director of Cat Protection and Policy at The Humane Society of the United States, focusing on increasing interventions for and reducing community cats populations through sterilization and vaccination programs, as well as keeping more cats in their homes and preserving a strong human-animal bond. Katie has an MS in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University; she is the Past President and a current Board Member of the New England Federation of Humane Societies; and she serves as an advisor to the Maine Federation of Humane Societies. 

Content by Katie Lisnik

  • Blog Post

    Finding a cat a home

    Are we missing the good apples while trying to catch the bad?

    I was traveling recently to conduct a series of Rethinking the Cat trainings in Kansas and Oklahoma through our Humane State program. Having done many of these cat trainings around the country, we hear many of the same concerns, challenges and questions—often with a unique local flair. 

    Read More

  • Magazine Article

    Reconcilable differences

    By piecing together their expertise, community cat advocates and conservationists can maximize the effectiveness of trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs.

    Wildlife biologist helps chart a new path for cat advocates and conservationists

    The work of protecting animals is always challenging, but it becomes even thornier when the interests of different species seem to be in conflict. Such scenarios aren’t limited to cats and wildlife, but as trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs have become more common, community cats have taken center stage in the animals vs. animals debate.

    Read More

  • Blog Post

    Domestic violence victims need better options. The PAWS Act can help.

    If we shame people in trouble, we can't help them—or their pets

    Working in the animal welfare world, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen or heard some variation of “I love animals, but I hate people.” I’m sure you have a similar experience. Some in our field seem to wear it almost as a badge of honor and share the sentiment with great pride, while others roll it out only on particularly bad days, when the worst of human nature is on display.

    I get it. Some days beat you down and the cruelty you see can color your perceptions to an amazing degree. I know the words passed my lips more than a couple times as I started out in this field.

    Read More

  • Blog Post

    Bills, laws and ordinances, oh my!

    A law “on the books” has little meaning except for what it has the power to do for animals or for people.

    Policy, like cleaning protocols or a medical suite, is a tool that allows us to better the lives of animals

    I didn’t grow up interested in politics or the various debates over policy in the ‘90s. To the young me, that all sounded pretty boring and not all that relevant to my life. After all, there weren’t any laws or ordinances preventing school dances, science fairs or hanging out with friends, right?

    Times have changed, and I now see the benefits of being engaged with politics. But that change didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen simply because I learned the process of how policy changes happen. What changed was that I found a “why.”

    Read More

  • Magazine Article

    Don’t push the panic button on toxoplasmosis

    Because infected cats only shed Toxoplasma gondii once in their lifetimes, sterilized community cats in stable colonies present minimal risk of spreading the parasite.

    To advocate for cats, you need to separate the facts from the hype

    Decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for pregnant women to hear that they needed to give up their pet cats to reduce their risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. More recently, detractors of trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs have capitalized on the misunderstandings surrounding toxoplasmosis to foster opposition to community cat spay/neuter efforts. So whether you’re working the intake desk at your local shelter or operating a TNR program, you need to know the facts about this disease.

    Read More

  • Blog Post

    Please, not another Lobby 101!

    Protecting dogs by ending breed-specific-legislation is one of HSUS's 2017 policy priorities for pets.

    Policy takes priority at the start of the new year

    State legislatures nationwide are starting back up, with new faces ready to make progress for animals—or take us a few steps back. Many of you know your local HSUS state director; for those who don’t, I highly recommend getting to know them, since they are on the front lines of policy work in your state and can keep you up-to-date on the latest animal-related legislative happenings.

    Read More