KANAB, Utah – Best Friends Animal Society announces Oct. 16 as National Community Cat Day.
For decades, this day has been known as Global Cat Day or National Feral Cat Day, but this year Best Friends has changed the name to raise public awareness of the risks faced by community cats, stray or outdoor cats, often cared for by one or multiple people in the community.
“Managing community cats is key to helping us reach our goal of ending the killing of cats in America’s shelters by 2025,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “These animals are the most at risk in our country, and it is critical that we have nationwide implementation of Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) to save lives.”
Best Friends and other animal welfare organizations are moving away from the term “feral cats” to describe all cats that live and are seen outside, instead using the term “community cats.” Not all cats that live or roam outdoors are feral, and many are friendly, social or shy, outdoor pet cats, or even house pets that go outside. Some like to interact with people, while others are skittish and keep to themselves, but they are established animals in their communities and loved by their caregivers.
Compared to dogs, cats are killed at a rate of 2:1 in America’s animal shelters, and community cats make up a large portion of those killed. Last year, 68% of animals killed in shelters were cats, meaning that more than 201,000 cats were killed in shelters in 2020. National Community Cat Day seeks to address the need for public understanding and adoption of policies and programs to humanely protect and manage community cat populations.
Community cat programs, which are anchored by the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) method, are the most effective way to save lives and humanely reduce the population over time. In areas where Community Cat Programs exist, save rates for cats have been found to improve by as much as 80 percent. In these programs, using TNVR, cats are humanely trapped, medically evaluated, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear tipped under anesthesia for identification. They are then returned to their outdoor homes to live out their lives maintained by volunteer caregivers.
A recent study showed that the majority of people, 67%, polled are unfamiliar with TNVR as a lifesaving method of helping community cats, and many people do not realize that very few cats who enter shelters are reunited with their owners or adopted. However, once people have an understanding of TNVR, 65% of people support it.
TNVR has significant benefits for both cats and their communities. It prevents unwanted litters, improves the health of outdoor cats, reduces nuisance behaviors like spraying, fighting, howling and roaming, creates safer and healthier neighborhoods by reducing the number of unvaccinated cats, saves taxpayer dollars by keeping cats out of shelters, and ultimately reduces the number of cats dying in shelters. TNVR lengthens the lifespan and enhances the quality of life for cats in managed cat groups, allowing them to live longer and healthier lives than they would if they were turned in to shelters. Learn more about how to help community cats here.
About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is the leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 347,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,300 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.