Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Architects for Change for Cats: Blueprints for building humane communities

The 13th annual National Feral Cat Day will be held on Wednesday, October 16.

Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest advocacy organization for cats, launched National Feral Cat Day in 2001 to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them.

The theme for this year’s National Feral Cat Day is “Architects of Change for Cats: Building blueprints for humane communities.”

Alley Cat Allies will present the Architects of Change for Cats Award to the city of Harrington, Del. Harrington is being recognized for implementing a community-wide Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for outdoor cats.

The Architects of Change for Cats Award is given to communities that have taken steps to help reduce community cat populations in a humane way. Alley Cat Allies will also present certificates to key caregivers, volunteers and animal protection organizations that came together to create the TNR program.

“Harrington is a great example of a community working together to implement TNR,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “The city leadership, caregivers and organizations created the best program for the cats and their community. This is exactly the kind of partnership we have hoped for since National Feral Cat Day was created 13 years ago.”

In 2012, the Harrington city council was approached by the Delaware chapter of the Humane Society of the United States and volunteers interested in starting a TNR program. Soon after, the city updated its code to allow for such a program.

“Everyone owned this – every policymaker jumped in to get us city funds, donate supplies, and one councilperson even helped in trapping,” said Hetti Brown, Delaware State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, who helped coordinate the new program.

The city got the word out about the program by publicizing it in water bills, the city newsletter, and even created a city web page. Public works and the code enforcement officer helped identify cat colony locations and gain support from property owners. Community volunteers formed the Harrington City Cat Crew to carry out TNR. PetSmart Charities funded the program.

There are an estimated 600 community cats in Harrington. So far, more than 380 have undergone TNR.

For more information about National Feral Cat Day, other events being held around the country, and how you can help community cats: visit http://nationalferalcatday.org/


  1. What a great example for others to follow!

  2. Great news. TNR is one of those things that just doesn't feel right to a lot of people. They're stuck in the idea of every animal being a companion in someone's home. But its just not possible for feral cats.

    I'm so thankful for communities that use this approach that works to benefit cats (and their communities).

  3. Pawsome! TNR actually works unlike what the naysayers say. TW did this when she was a teenager with a friend. They had all the neighborhood strays spayed/neutered and they didn't see strange strays for a long time.

  4. It's great to see something else great being associated with the name Harrington(s) :0)