Alley Cat Allies

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Not to be confused with Alley Cat Rescue. ‹See Tfd›
Alley Cat Allies
Type 501(c)(3)
Founded 1990
Key people

Becky Robinson, President

Donna Wilcox, Vice President
Area served USA
Focus(es) Animal protection
Revenue $4 million in 2009[1]
Members 249,000 in 2010
Motto 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.[2] Alley Cat Allies works toward this goal by reforming public policies and institutions to serve the best interests of cats, expanding and promoting cat care, and increasing understanding of cats. The organization is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Alley Cat Allies specializes in stray and feral cat advocacy and provides 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 across the country 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.[3]

Alley Cat Allies’ educational resources provide guidance and support for people performing Trap-Neuter-Return and advocating for cats through print, electronic, and multimedia content about feral cats, veterinary care, Trap-Neuter-Return, and policies that impact cats.


Alley Cat Allies was founded in 1990 after co-founder Becky Robinson discovered a colony of feral cats in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC; the organization then incorporated on October 16, 1991. Robinson currently serves as the organization’s president,[4] leading the organization with Vice President Donna Wilcox.[5] Alley Cat Allies is often referred to as the group who introduced Trap-Neuter-Return (the spaying and neutering of entire colonies of feral cats) to the United States.[6]

Recent history[edit]

  • 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.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11] 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.[12]


National Feral Cat Day[edit]

Alley Cat Allies created National Feral Cat Day in 2001[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

Boardwalk Cats Project[edit]

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.[16]

Feral Friends Network[edit]

Alley Cat Allies connects citizens to local resources for cat care and Trap-Neuter-Return through the Feral Friends Network, a nationwide database of veterinary practices and clinics that spay and neuter feral cats and organizations and individuals with hands-on Trap-Neuter-Return and feral cat expertise.

Veterinary Awareness Campaign[edit]

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.[17]

Every Kitty – Every City[edit]

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.[18]

Celebrity supporters[edit]

Alley Cat Allies’ “I’m an Alley Cat Ally” campaign has received celebrity support from:

In 2004, actress Nicole Sullivan won the first edition of Celebrity Poker Showdown, selecting Alley Cat Allies as her charity to receive the $100,000 prize.[21]


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.

Research and publications[edit]

  • In 2009, Alley Cat Allies published an instructional guide on how to humanely trap community cats. The guide lists the steps included in a trap-neuter-return effort.[22]
  • U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray Cats – In 2007, Alley Cat Allies published “U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatment of Stray Cats,” 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 it is rather than have it caught and “put down.”[23]
  • Population Characteristics and Neuter Status of Cats Living in Households in the United States - 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. The study, conducted by Alley Cat Allies, found that 80% of cats in U.S. households are neutered.[24]
  • Alley Cat Action – Alley Cat Allies publishes a quarterly newsletter called Alley Cat Action to update supporters on current organizational news and campaigns.[25]
  • Key Scientific Studies on Trap-Neuter-Return Factsheet – Alley Cat Allies published a collection of studies that prove the effectiveness of Trap-Neuter-Return.[26]
  • Feral Cat Health Analysis: Living Healthy Lives Outdoors – This review of scientific research from Alley Cat Allies shows that feral cats are healthy, and they do not suffer harsh lives or pose a health risk to other cats.[27]

Office cats[edit]

Alley Cat Allies has six “office cats” that live at the organization’s headquarters. All of the cats were adopted from feral cat colonies.[28] The office cats frequently appear on Alley Cat Allies’ social media[29] and merchandise.


  1. ^ "Layout 1" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  2. ^ "About Us - Alley Cat Allies". 2014-01-17. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  3. ^ "Our History - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  4. ^ "Bio - Becky Robinson - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Bio - Donna Wilcox - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  6. ^ Roger Tabor, Understanding Cats: Their History, Nature, and Behavior (Reader’s Digest: 1995), 44.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Saving Cats After Hurricanes - Alley Cat Allies". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  13. ^ "National Feral Cat Day Set for Oct. 16". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  14. ^ "OCTOBER 16 IS NATIONAL FERAL CAT DAY - Alley Cat Allies". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  15. ^ "Alley Cat Allies' Celebrity Allies - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  16. ^ "Boardwalk Cats Celebrate 10-Year Anniversary | Features | News & Views". Atlantic City Weekly. 2010-07-18. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  17. ^ "Veterinary Awareness Campaign - Alley Cat Allies". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  18. ^ "Every Kitty - Every City - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  19. ^ "Ellen DeGeneres loves rescue pets, stew and stamps; Portia de Rossi speaks out for feral cats -". 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  20. ^ "'Golden Girls' Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White help animals (in Arthur's case, posthumously) -". 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  21. ^ Celebrity Poker Showdown (TV Series 2003– ) - Trivia - IMDb
  22. ^ Alley Cat Allies, “How to Help Feral Cats: A Step-By-Step Guide to Trap-Neuter-Return”, 2009, updated 2002.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, "Population characteristics and neuter status of cats living in households in the United States," April 15, 2009, Vol. 234, No. 8, Pgs 1023-1030. Retrieved 2014-02-25
  25. ^ "Alley Cat Action Archive - Alley Cat Allies". 2014-01-22. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Feral Cat Health Analysis: Living Healthy Lives Outdoors - Alley Cat Allies". 2010-04-26. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  28. ^ "Our Cats - Alley Cat Allies". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  29. ^ "Alley Cat Allies - Bethesda (Maryland) - Non-profitorganisatie". Facebook. 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 

External links[edit]