Alley Cat Allies are asking people to organise events and dream up imaginative ideas for their National Feral Cat Day® which takes place on October 16, 2013.
They have a website dedicated to the task, which helps to get the motivational juices flowing!
My instincts inform me that you have to go back to the root of the problem and think long term. The number of feral cats in the USA seems to be either be stable or rising. It is likely to be rising because the human population of the USA is rising resulting in more people who might be irresponsible cat caretakers. This encourages me to think long term.
How do feral cats become what they are? It must start with an unneutered or unspayed outdoor/indoor cat who wanders off from his/her home and does not come back. She lives outside where she can breed. She is a stray cat becoming more and more wild. Her offspring are feral cats born into a non-domesticated world devoid, more or less, of humans.
The most important moment in that simple process must be the failure to neuter or spay a domestic cat early in the cat’s life. The second most important moment is allowing a cat to wander and not come back. That can happen to even the best cat caretaker but it will happen more often to a poor cat caretaker and a person who cares for too many cats.
In my opinion, ideas and events for National Feral Cat Day® should center around these root causes of the creation of feral cats.
I also believe that it is much more difficult to change the ways of older people who have entrenched routines than it is to educate younger people. A young person is a blank canvas. The youngsters of today will be the adults of tomorrow. They will pass on what they have learned and so the negative chain of events – mother and father providing a poor role model with respect to cat caretaking – will be reversed. In the long term, this should lead to a decline in feral cat numbers.
A good place to inform and educate children is at school, which brings me to my idea for an event for Alley Cat Allies National Feral Cat Day.
There are some wonderfully impressive therapy cats and what I would “cat representatives” – cats who represent all cats. My mind turns to two Savannah cats: Magic and Motzie. Motzie is a well known cat who is used to being introduced to strangers and being in strange places. Both are impeccably behaved and superbly socialised while being mightily impressive.
Is it beyond the bounds of possibility for either of these cat’s owners – Magic is owned by Lee and Kimberely Draper in California and Motzie by Deborah Milette in Oklahoma – to host an event at a local school, bring along their famous cats and talk about responsible cat caretaking. Someone other than the owner could do the talking. I am sure Alley Cat Allies could recommend someone.
The cat would get the kid’s attention and make it a memorable moment. Strong experiences make moments memorable. Think of the things that you remember from long ago. They will be events that had impact. These cats can create that sort of impact. The words will stick and twenty kids will forever remember how to look after a cat and so will there kids and the grandchildren ad infinitum with a bit of luck.