Alley Cat Allies
|Area served||USA and globally|
|Members||500,000 in 2014|
Becky Robinson, PresidentDonna Wilcox, VP and Board Chair
|Revenue||$7.2 million in 2013|
|Slogan||The Cats' Leading Advocate|
Alley Cat Allies is a nonprofit advocacy organization whose mission is to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of cats. Alley Cat Allies works toward this goal by advocating for reform of public policies and institutions to better serve the interests of cats; developing educational materials on feral cats and trap-neuter-return; and providing a global network of people involved in helping feral cats. The organization is based in Bethesda, Maryland.
Alley Cat Allies specializes in stray and feral cat advocacy and provides extensive information on Trap-Neuter-Return, the only method of managing feral cat populations the organization considers humane and effective. Alley Cat Allies helps communities, individuals, and grassroots groups launch or improve Trap-Neuter-Return programs and expand the accessibility of affordable spay and neuter services. The organization also educates the American public about the number of cats killed in animal shelters and works to reform the shelter system to better serve the needs of feral cats.
- 1 Founding
- 2 Selected history
- 3 Programs
- 4 Research and publications
- 5 Office cats
- 6 Mascot
- 7 Celebrity supporters
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Alley Cat Allies was founded in 1990 by Becky Robinson and Louise Holton. They had discovered an alley of 56 cats and two smaller colonies in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., which they worked together to neuter using the trap-neuter-return method. Deluged by requests for help from others who were trying to do similar work, and aware of the lack of resources and information on the method, the two friends set out forming a network for feral cats. The organization was incorporated on October 16, 1991.
Robinson currently serves as the organization’s president, leading the organization with Vice President and Board Chair Donna Wilcox. Holton left the organization in 2001 to form Alley Cat Rescue.
- Baltimore Wetlab – Alley Cat Allies organized a free wetlab training workshop at the Maryland SPCA’s clinic in 2008 to teach high-volume spay/neuter techniques to Baltimore-area veterinarians.
- Baltimore Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinance – When animal control policies in Baltimore prevented residents from carrying out Trap-Neuter-Return in 2007, Alley Cat Allies educated the city council about Trap-Neuter-Return and helped draft a new ordinance that allowed residents to feed and provide shelter for managed feral cat colonies.
- Hurricane Katrina response – In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Alley Cat Allies established a base camp and emergency shelter in Louisiana and sent 150 volunteers to help hundreds of cats displaced by the hurricane. In 2008, Alley Cat Allies received the Goodwill Key to the City of New Orleans in recognition of their work to save the Gulf region’s animals after Hurricane Katrina.
- DC CAT – In 2004, Alley Cat Allies created the DC CAT Trap-Neuter-Return pilot program, which neutered nearly 1,400 cats in Washington, DC. Two years later, DC’s animal control organization, the Washington Humane Society, embraced Trap-Neuter-Return as its feral cat policy and together with Alley Cat Allies opened the first high-volume spay/neuter clinic in Washington, DC, in 2007.
- Norfolk Naval Shipyard – In 2000, Alley Cat Allies halted a catch and kill order at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, and instead instituted a Trap-Neuter-Return program, becoming the first animal protection group in the nation to hold a formal contract with the U.S. military.
Future Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives
In 2014, Alley Cat Allies began a pilot project with five animal shelters to expand humane programs that save cats' lives. The selected shelters have committed to a Feral Cat Protection Policy, supporting trap-neuter-return and only accepting feral cats to divert them to TNR or Shelter-Neuter-Return programs. Participating shelters receive $5,000 and a year of expert guidance from Alley Cat Allies. The program is expected to result in models for shelter TNR programs that can be used even where shelters have limited funds and face challenges.
National Feral Cat Day
Alley Cat Allies created National Feral Cat Day in 2001 and promotes it every October 16 as the annual kick-off for its national educational campaign about the protection of stray and feral cats. The day is marked with events such as spay/neuter clinics and workshops; in 2008, 90 events were planned in 30 cities across the US. In 2009, Alley Cat Allies celebrated National Feral Cat Day on the CBS Early Show, where weatherman Dave Price joined Alley Cat Allies’ “I’m An Alley Cat Ally” campaign.
Boardwalk Cats Project
In 2000, Alley Cat Allies formed a coalition to stop a municipal order to catch and kill cats living on and under Atlantic City’s boardwalk. With the city’s cooperation, Alley Cat Allies staff and local volunteers began a Trap-Neuter-Return program for the boardwalk cats. The program celebrated its 10th anniversary in June 2010.
Feral Friends Network
Alley Cat Allies' Feral Friends Network connects individuals to organizations, veterinarians, and others serving as resources on feral cats and TNR from around the world. Links to other online communities are also provided.
Veterinary Awareness Campaign
Alley Cat Allies launched the Veterinary Awareness Campaign in October 2009 to educate the veterinary community about proper protocols for Trap-Neuter-Return and veterinary treatment of feral cats. As part of the campaign, Alley Cat Allies attends veterinary conferences nationwide and launched an online Veterinary Resource Center.
Every Kitty – Every City
Alley Cat Allies’ Every Kitty – Every City program raises awareness in targeted cities about outdoor cats, feral cat colony care, Trap-Neuter-Return, and low-cost neuter services through workshops, outreach, and organizing. Participating cities include Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago, Greater New Orleans, and the Washington, DC, metro area.
Research and publications
- How to Help Feral Cats: A Step-By-Step Guide to Trap-Neuter-Return - In 2009, Alley Cat Allies published an instructional guide on how to humanely trap community cats, which was updated in 2002. The guide lists the steps included in a trap-neuter-return effort.
- Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinances and Policies in the United States: The Future of Animal Control - In 2013, the organization published a Law and Policy Brief reviewing the treatment of feral cats in ordinances throughout the U.S. The study found that at least 240 local governments had enacted ordinances or policies supporting TNR (p. 4), a ten-fold increase from ten years earlier (p. 11).
- Colony Care Guide - The organization published a guide for community cat caretakers with advice on safely providing food, water, and shelter; monitoring colony members and providing ongoing health care; helping cats and people co-exist; and planning for substitute care or emergencies.
- Scientific study of neuter status of U.S. pet cats - In 2009, Alley Cat Allies published Population Characteristics and Neuter Status of Cats Living in Households in the United States in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "Findings suggested that a high percentage (80.0%) of cats living in households in the United States were neutered and that annual family income was the strongest predictor of whether cats in the household were neutered." 
- U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray Cats – In 2007, Alley Cat Allies published a Law and Policy Brief interpreting the results of a nationally representative survey conducted for Alley Cat Allies by Harris Interactive. The study found that 81% of Americans consider it more humane to leave a cat outside where the cat is, rather than have the cat caught and “put down.”
- Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return – Alley Cat Allies published a fact sheet describing a number of studies that show that TNR is the humane and effective approach for managing feral cats. A more updated version of the analysis is available on the organization's website.
- Feral Cat Health Analysis: Living Healthy Lives Outdoors – A review of scientific research presented by the organization rebuts the views often espoused by other groups that feral cats live short and painful lives. Alley Cat Allies states that feral cats are healthy and become healthier when aided by trap-neuter-return; and they do not pose a health risk to other cats or communities.
- Alley Cat Action - The organization's quarterly newsletter is available online.
Alley Cat Allies has four “office cats” living at the organization’s headquarters: Oliver, Charles, Diana, and Fergie. All of the cats were adopted from locations where trapping efforts were underway; except for Oliver, who was found wandering on his own near the Atlantic City boardwalk by Amanda Casazza, Field Work Coordinator with the Every Kitty - Every City program. The office cats frequently appear on Alley Cat Allies’ social media and merchandise.
Frank the Feral, a fictional black-and-white feral cat, is Alley Cat Allies’ mascot. Frank wears an Alley Cat Allies shirt and sports an eartip, the universal sign of a neutered feral cat.
"I'm an Alley Cat Ally" Campaign
In 2010, the organization launched a campaign called "I'm an Alley Cat Ally" in order to "raise awareness about the millions of Americans who care for stray and feral cats in their communities." Supporters print their name on a sign that says "I'm an Alley Cat Ally", take their photo holding the sign, and the photo is later added to the Photo Pledge Gallery. A number of celebrities have participated in the campaign:
- Actress Portia de Rossi kicked off the campaign, saying "The Trap-Neuter-Return approach is the only way to help contain the populations and save their lives".
- Actress Tania Gunadi
- Actress Angela Kinsey
- Actor and producer John Lehr
- Animal rights activists Mary and Peter Max
- Actress Rue McClanahan
- Animal rights activist and former model Heather Mills
- Actress Paula Poundstone
- Television personality Dave Price
Other celebrity support
- "About Us", Alley Cat Allies, accessed July 14, 2014.
- "Board of Directors", Alley Cat Allies, accessed July 14, 2014.
- "Changing Communities: Saving Lives: Fiscal Year 2013 Financials and Donor Report", Alley Cat Allies
- "Our History - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Farewell to a Founder", Alley Cat Action, Summer 2001, p. 2.
- Ellen Perry Berkeley, TNR: Past, Present and Future: A History of the Trap-Neuter-Return Movement (2004: Alley Cat Allies), ISBN 0-9705194-2-7, p. 8.
- Roger Tabor, Understanding Cats: Their History, Nature, and Behavior (Reader’s Digest: 1995), ISBN 978-0895779168, p. 44.
- "Bio - Becky Robinson - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Bio - Donna Wilcox - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Alley Cat Allies Helps Train Veterinarians at Baltimore Wetlab", Alley Cat Action, Spring 2008, p. 1.
- "Case Study: Alley Cat Allies Leads Coalition to Support Trap-Neuter-Return in Baltimore", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 19, 2014.
- "Alley Cat Allies Special Report: Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 19, 2014.
- Alley Cat Allies honored for saving cats after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita", Alley Cat Allies, Sept. 2, 2008.
- "Case Study: Alley Cat Allies Helps Washington, D.C. Establish Humane Cat Programs", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 19, 2014.
- "Case Study: Alley Cat Allies Saves Cats’ Lives at Norfolk Naval Shipyard", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 19, 2014.
- "Future Five: Shelter Partners to Save Cats’ Lives", Alley Cat Allies, accessed July 14, 2014.
- "National Feral Cat Day Set for Oct. 16". Catchannel.com. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "OCTOBER 16 IS NATIONAL FERAL CAT DAY - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Alley Cat Allies' Celebrity Allies - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Boardwalk Cats Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary | Features | News & Views". Atlantic City Weekly. 2010-07-18. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Alley Cat Allies' Feral Friends Network", accessed July 14, 2014.
- "Alley Cat Allies Online Communities", Alley Cat Allies, accessed July 14, 2014.
- "Veterinary Awareness Campaign - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Every Kitty - Every City - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- Alley Cat Allies, “How to Help Feral Cats: A Step-By-Step Guide to Trap-Neuter-Return”, 2009, updated 2002.
- "Trap-Neuter-Return Ordinances and Policies in the United States: The Future of Animal Control", Elizabeth Holtz, Alley Cat Allies, January 2013.
- "Fact Sheet: Colony Care Guide", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- "Population characteristics and neuter status of cats living in households in the United States, Karyen Chu et al., JAVMA Vol. 234, No. 8, pp 1023-1030, April 15, 2009. Study results are discussed here: "New Scientific Study Finds Vast Majority of Pet Cats Are Neutered", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray Cats, Karyen Chu et al., Alley Cat Allies Law and Policy Brief, 2007.
- "Fact Sheet: Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- "Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- "Fight over ferals boils down to one question: Do alley cats live a good life?", Justin Juvenal, The Washington Post, May 24, 2011.
- "Feral Cat Health Analysis: Living Healthy Lives Outdoors", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- "Alley Cat Action Archive", Alley Cat Allies, accessed August 24, 2014.
- "Our Cats - Alley Cat Allies". Alleycat.org. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Alley Cat Allies - Bethesda (Maryland) - Non-profitorganisatie". Facebook. 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Shelter pets get Ellen DeGeneres' stamp of approval", Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2010.
- ""I’m an Alley Cat Ally" Campaign", Alley Cat Allies, accessed Sept. 20, 2014.
- "Show your support! Be an Alley Cat Ally", Alley Cat Allies, accessed Sept. 20, 2014.
- "Ellen DeGeneres loves rescue pets, stew and stamps; Portia de Rossi speaks out for feral cats - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "'Golden Girls' Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White help animals (in Arthur's case, posthumously) - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- "Just wanted to give a big shout out to my friends at @alleycatallies for all they do for community cats.", Twitter account Katherine Heigl @KatieHeigl, April 7, 2014.
- "Celebrity Poker Showdown: Trivia", IMDb, accessed Sept. 20, 2014.