October 16th Feral Cat Day

What if you were born in a world without love? A world where no one cared for you or wanted you? No one even knew you existed? That’s pretty much the life of a Feral Cat.

Cats have been domesticated for over 10,000 years. They have been pets to the royalty and poor alike. Though they often seem content to remain alone and distant, they are just like any other pet, with feelings and needs. Since it was we humans who bred the cat to be domesticated it is up to us to help them when they do stand alone against the world.

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Cats that do not know humans care will run and hide, sometimes even attack when cornered, but it’s hard to blame them. After all, we are much bigger than them. They do not know when we are trying to help them and do not have the same powers of reason as humans do. Some do not want to be owned by anyone, they want to live free, to do as they please, when they please.

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A new program was instituted to try and curb the Feral Cat population called “Trap – Neuter – Release”. The idea is to catch the cat, neuter or spay them so they cannot reproduce, and then return them to the world they know where they can live out their lives happily (or at least somewhat happily). The way you know this program has been used on a cat is the ear being clipped to identify them.

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I can tell you from personal experience though, I think most cats do want a home, even if they do not know it. Over the years we befriended a cat, fed him and took care of his many wounds… always at a distance… until he began to trust us a little bit. Eventually he let us pet him and finally actually came into our house on his own. Now he has a warm, safe place to rest, get food, and relax before he goes back out on one of his many journeys. However, nearly every night he comes back, lays down next to us and goes to sleep letting us know he thanks us for being nice to him.

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Cats are not all that different from people. A little love and kindness goes a long way. Letting them know they are wanted without forcing them to stay is important to them and very, very, rewarding when they come back on their own because they want to. Even if they do not come back, you know in your heart that you have done something nice for someone, some thing, other than yourself.

Feral Cat Day spun off of an organization called Alley Cat Allies, who celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2001. On October 16th, 2001 they started Feral Cat Day and have done a lot to bring a little happiness and kindness into the lives of the feline world.

How to celebrate – Give some food, and kindness to a scared, hungry kitty on on the street. Participate in the “Trap-Neuter-Return” program. Try and make a life long friend with a cat that does not have a home.

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