Feral Friends Network Members Assistance Request Form

This form is for members of the Feral Friends Network to request support and/or assistance with on the ground situations.  If you are not a Feral Friends Network member, please use our Online Assistance Form to request help.

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If you are submitting this inquiry as a representative of a Feral Friends Network Organization member, please provide the organization name.


Changing Policies/Ordinances

Have you discovered an existing law in your town that is negatively impacting cats? Or maybe you are interested in advocating for new policies toward feral cats in your local shelter. We have great resources that can help you make your community a better place for cats.

Our Cats and the Law page has all the information you need when it comes to learning about how local laws affect cats. One of the best things about TNR is that it is not necessary to pass a law to do it! As long as your community does not have an ordinance in place that negatively impacts cats, you can get started with TNR right now! Use our Change Your Community guide for tips on educating the community, mediating neighbor concerns, networking with other cat advocates, working with your local shelter, and organizing TNR efforts in your town.

Here are some topics to consider:

  • Community members are being cited for caring for cats! This is a truly unfair situation for caregivers like you. After all, these caring individuals are only trying to help outdoor kitties out of the kindness of their hearts. However, our How to Handle a Citation page has everything you need to research your local laws and decide whether or not you will need an attorney. Unfortunately, we cannot offer you legal advice or representation, but we hope that these resources can point you in the right direction.
  • There is a proposed or existing ordinance that negatively impacts cats! Our Advocacy Toolkit will have the tools you need to help you negotiate for better policies for cats. This includes information on how certain polices can help or harm cats, tips for meeting with local decision makers, and advice on how to grow community support for policies or ordinances that protect the lives of cats in your community!
  • My shelter does not have live-saving policies for cats! Nationally, only about 30% of cats who enter shelters have positive outcomes. For many caregivers and shelter employees that’s no longer good enough. We know that many communities want to adopt policies to protect cats and our Transforming Shelters Toolkit is a great place for advocates to start.

If you are an advocate who is working to make your community a better place for cats, we would love to hear from you! Please complete the following questions. We know that community advocates are the most effective tool in creating positive change for cats and are happy to provide guidance to support you in your efforts.

Veterinary Care for Ill or Injured Cats

If you come across a sick or injured outdoor cat, seek immediate medical attention. But since the cat is likely feral (and therefore fearful of people), you need a plan that will keep her safe and calm. We recommend you take the following course of action:

  • Find a veterinary facility with experience treating and handling feral cats and with an understanding of feral cat behavior and Trap-Neuter-Return. To find out if there are any feral-friendly veterinarians near you, request a list of Alley Cat Allies' Feral Friends Network members in your area. If there are no veterinary Feral Friends in the results, contact the non-veterinary Feral Friends to ask for a veterinary recommendation. Or, you can provide your veterinarian with information about the proper handling and treatment of feral cats by visiting our Feral Cat Veterinary Resource Center.
  • Ask about your veterinarian's euthanasia policy. Unfortunately, veterinarians who have not been trained to work with feral cats often suggest euthanizing feral cats rather than treating them. Please be aware of your veterinarian's feral cat policies before taking cats there. Alley Cat Allies' philosophy is that an animal should only be euthanized in the event of terminal illness or untreatable injury. Learn more about The Difference between Euthanasia and Killing.
  • Once you've found a veterinarian, follow our steps for safely and humanely trapping cats, including those who are sick or injured, in the How to Conduct Trap-Neuter-Return and Tips for Hard-to-Trap Cats sections of our website. Please note we do not recommend withholding food for an extended period of time to a cat who is ill.
  • You will also have to consider what you will do in the event that the cat needs long-term care. Make sure you have an idea of where she can be held while she's recovering or receiving medical treatment.
  • Have a financial plan. Please note that Alley Cat Allies is not a grant-making organization and cannot provide financial assistance for veterinary bills. Please see our financial resources for cat care for advice and grant-making organizations that may be able to help.

Thank you for caring for ill or injured cats. We hope this information helps you decide what course of action is in the cat's best interest.

Trapping Threatened or in Progress

If neighbors, property management, animal control, etc. have threatened to trap or prevent you from caring for outdoor cats, follow these steps to protect the cats and resolve the conflict.


1.   Count all of your cats.
Knowing how many cats you care for will help you identify if cats have been trapped and, if so, which ones. Having records of the colony will also prepare you for negotiating. Use our tracking sheet
 to guide you.


2.   Try and keep the cats from going into the traps.
If traps have already been set, consider overfeeding cats so they will not be tempted to go into the traps for the bait. Offer lots of tasty and aromatic food that the cats will be drawn to—consider tuna, sardines, fried chicken, or canned food. Feed the cats multiple times a day. You may, also, want to consider using humane deterrents around the traps. Please note that if a government agency such as animal control is setting the traps, it may be illegal to tamper with traps or to release trapped cats.


3.   Look for any missing cats.

If cats are missing, immediately go to local pounds or animal shelters in person to find and claim them. It is crucial to go in person. Do not just call. If the cats aren't at the shelter, return often to check for them. You can leave their descriptions, your phone number, and a note to call you immediately, but never rely on shelter personnel to identify your cats. Go in person as often as necessary. You may also want to ask what the shelter's policies are for feral cats - Can an individual caregiver claim feral cats out of the shelter? Is there a fee involved? If an individual cannot claim feral cats, would a local rescue group be allowed to?


4.   Stop the trapping and set up a meeting.
If trapping has begun, try to find out who is responsible for setting the traps (this could be your neighbor, animal control, private trapping company or property management) and request that they stop trapping immediately and meet with you to discuss humane solutions. Follow up on your request in writing. If more than three meeting requests are ignored, skip to step 5.


5.   Know your local laws and procedures.
Protect yourself and the cats by learning more about your community's animal control policies and other laws that affect cats and caregivers. Visit our Cats and the Law page for more information on how to find local ordinances, information on how to speak with Animal Control and more.


6.   Negotiate for the cats.
Get your facts together, dress professionally, and plan your talking points. Remain calm and objective. Do not go alone–bring a member of our Feral Friends Network or other representative from a Trap-Neuter-Return organization, or another advocate or caregiver. Offer effective bargaining chips
 that benefit everyone like TNR and colony care—not relocation.


While it may seem hard to create a dialogue in a confrontational situation, our experience is that most people are just frustrated and when you talk to them about their concerns they are willing and open to listening. Find more tips on negotiating visit our How to Resolve Issues about Cats with Others resource.


7.   Start a Trap-Neuter-Return program.
If you haven't already, begin a targeted TNR program to ensure that all cats on the property are neutered. One of the strongest bargaining chips you can offer is effectively, humanely stabilizing the cat population. Learn how to practice targeted trapping
 to trap the whole colony. Not experienced with trapping? Learn how to carry out TNR. You can also ask the Feral Friends Network members in your area for advice, or attend one of our Helping Cats in Your Community Webinars.


8.   Build community support for the cats.
Establish yourself as the contact person for the cats by going door to door. If the cats live in a housing community or industrial area, you may be able to find support among neighbors, tenants or employees. Fill them in on the situation and hand out truth cards to answer their questions. Educate them about feral cats and how TNR helps the whole community. View our truth cards and other educational materials in our Educate Your Neighbors

If you are having difficulty reaching an agreement with the person responsible for the trapping, ask supporters to raise their voice in support. It is not uncommon, especially in conflicts with property managers or Animal Control, for decision makers to only hear about complaints and hearing from community members who support the cats can provide a more balanced prospective.


9.   Connect with local cat-friendly groups.
Find other organizations in your area that support your efforts through Alley Cat Allies' Feral Friends Network. Our Feral Friends Network is comprised of individuals, organizations, and veterinary care providers with outdoor cat experience. They can provide information on local resources and help you become a TNR expert. In addition, they may be able to provide support and advice to help you resolve conflicts about the cats based on their valuable local experience. Click here to find Feral Friends near you!


10.  Make your community more cat-friendly.
Advocate for cats community-wide by changing policies and laws to protect them. Our Advocacy Toolkit will arm you with the basics in citizen lobbying and prepare you to advocate for cats.


As you move through these steps, keep in mind that local caregivers and organizations are the most effective voices for cats in their community. Many people feel that the influence of nationwide organizations or the spot light of the media may be the most effective tool but the voices of actually community members tend to resonate the loudest and these steps were designed to help you become stellar advocates for outdoor cats in their community.


For more information on resolving conflicts about cats, please visit the Troubleshooting with Community Members section of our Community Relations Resource Center.

Natural Disasters

Emergency situations like extreme weather and natural disasters can happen without warning. If you are currently under threat by an extreme weather event, we hope your family—including pets and feral cat colonies—are safe. The best response is to be prepared: make sure you’ve got a plan in place for your family, companion animals, and feral cat colonies in case of an unexpected emergency.

It's important to know that feral cats are resourceful. The outdoors is their home, so they know how to deal with weather. Many times animals can "sense" when bad weather is coming, and in the case of hurricanes, they often move to higher ground and safe places instinctually.

However, there are things you can do to prepare when harsh weather is forecast or predicted:

  • Have descriptions of the cats in your colony, along with photos. If you need to look for displaced cats in shelters or other rescue areas this will help accurately identify them.
  • Turn shelters and feeding station openings away from the storm surge, and if possible, move them to slightly higher, protected ground nearby.
  • Fill food and water bowls in case you have to evacuate and can’t return immediately.

If you do need to evacuate, bring your pets with you, but do not try to trap and contain unsocialized feral cats. Have a safe place to go ahead of time, and be sure to bring your emergency supply kits.

After the disaster has passed and it is safe to return, begin cleaning up the colony area, check feeding stations, and look for the cats in your colony. Don’t panic if the cats aren’t waiting when you get back — they can hide for days after severe weather. If any are missing, contact your local shelters and determine which agencies, if any, are on the ground in your area assisting animals.

Find details and more information at: http://www.alleycat.org/DisasterTips

Responding to neglect, poisoning, or violence

It is truly sad and frightening to know that anyone would ever go out of their way to harm a cat. However, all is not lost! There are steps that you can take to ensure the safety of the cats you care for. These important tips will better prepare you for responding to situations where cats have been harmed or threatened:

  • Killing cats is illegal! Anti-cruelty laws include all cats—pet, stray, or feral—and the intentional killing or injuring of a cat is a criminal offense in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
  • File a report with local authorities immediately! They should be able to help you find out who is responsible for humane investigations in your town.
  • Collect evidence! Documenting everything you know or see about an incident can make all the difference in these types of investigations. Take photos, record your observations, and note accurate times and dates. As difficult and emotional as it is, it is important to have a veterinarian examine any deceased cat you find in order to obtain a written report on the exact cause of death. While it may be difficult in this sort of emotional situation, it is important to have a veterinarian examine any deceased cat you find in order to obtain a written report on the exact cause of death. You can use our Feral Friends Network to find local resources for veterinary care for feral cats as well as for additional support and guidance.
  • Educate your community! Building relationships with neighbors in your community is extremely crucial to ensuring the safety of cats. Knock on doors and engage people in a conversation to explain how you are helping cats in the community, respond to any of their questions or concerns, and make them aware of anti-cruelty laws. Oftentimes, people just aren’t aware of what community cats are, and speaking with them directly can calm and educate them. You may even find other advocates right in your own backyard!

For this information and more, please visit the Making Nice with the Neighbors section of our Community Relations Resource Center. This will have great information to help you reach out to community members and find a humane solution to help cats and people coexist. In particular, the information on Responding to Violent Threats will build on what we have shared here and can help you keep cats safe in your community.

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