Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Feral Cat Day: An Ode To Frankie @AlleyCatAllies

Today's a big deal for cat lovers; National Feral Cat Day. I have friends on Facebook filling their pages with meme buttons and blurbs, gushing about the feral cats they secretly feed, or have even adopted. Now, before I go more into our attachment to this date, and it's importance; I should take a few sentences to note some common sense points. National Feral Cat Day, while about Feral Cats, is not advocating humans to take feral animals into their home as pets. True, many feral cats have been 'converted' into loyal, healthy, members of human families. However, feral cats are NOT a stray cat. (That is, an animal that was once someone's pet, and became lost.) A feral cat is a feline that is a descendant of either 1.) a domesticated animal that returned to the wild, or 2.) a descendant of a cat that has lived outdoors for many generations. Feral animals are considered wild, and obviously have no vaccination records or health history, making them a potential risk for humans and pets that come in contact. Feral cats can also cause potential population risks when the (non spay/neutered) cats of irresponsible owners become lost.
If all that sounds scary, it certainly is something serious to keep in mind. But feral cats are a wonderful part of our ecosystem, keeping many rodents and pests in check naturally, and have every right to roam and be happy. That's why National Feral Cat Day was organized, to raise awareness for the Alley Cat Allies organization, which helps promote humane handling of feral cats. Humane handling, in this case, typically involves safe trapping of said felines, followed by spay/neuter, and release (back into the wild). This premise is called "Trap, Neuter, Return," and should only be done by professionals or trained members of the organization. In many instances, you'll be glad to know, all efforts are made to adopt tamable kittens, prior to their release. The ultimate goal is to prevent necessary cat deaths (and population explosions), through controlled release, or adoption.
Now, Frankie, was a feral cat; from what we can determine, likely a product of such initiatives. He was trapped and taken to a shelter, at about 1.5 years of age. Sadly, though one of the sweetest cats I've ever met, he met the end of his adoption time frame, and was not adopted. It's a well known fact that, when adopting, many prefer kittens and puppies to adolescent or adult pets. Thankfully Frankie was taken in by a No-Kill home (packed with well over 25 cats- that we could see), where he was looked after indefinitely until finding his forever home with us. Now, Frankie does have some immune system issues, likely contracted from interactions in the wild, that he will live with for the rest of his life. Otherwise, he is a perfectly content, happy, domesticated cat. A cat without a birthday; so we celebrate Frankie today, on National Feral Cat Day.
Yes, Truffles was the offspring of a domesticated cat, Frankie was feral, and Nora came from a breeder- and we love them all equally. I do have to say, however, while Truffles may win the personality award, Frankie is one of the most loveable, cuddly ready, cats you will ever meet. He just loves attention, and will begin (loudly) purring with even the slightest hint of it. He's lost a little of his 'wild' cat bulk since he came home with us, but he still has that handsome bear face that reminds of us his true origins. For more information on the Trap, Neuter, Return initiatives near you visit www.alleycat.org.


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