Sixteen years ago, Alley Cat Allies launched National Feral Cat Day to promote trap-neuter-return and recognize the myriad people who were caring for feral cats across the country. That was also the year I did my first trap-neuter-return (TNR), of a mom cat who lived in the backyards on my block. Although I wasn’t feeding her, she was clearly content, well-fed and reproducing.
Veterinarian Kate Hurley knows the staggering toll of the euthanasia of healthy cats in shelters. It's evidence, she argues, that the current sheltering model isn't working for cats, and needs to be changed. Picking up and euthanizing healthy feral and unowned cats doesn’t protect them, other pets, wildlife, or human health, nor does it help control feline overpopulation. But what should we be doing instead? Some shelters are starting to work on new approaches.