Sometime in the mid-1990’s alley cats had their name changed to feral cats. This was partially because stray cats live in many other places other than back allies. But Alley Cat Allies began back in 1990, when calling feral cats “alley cats” were considered normal. Although they have kept an old name, this is one of the most forward-thinking cat rescue non-profit organizations in America.
Not Crazy Cat Ladies
Although Alley Cat Allies was founded by two women and have been manned by both human males and females, the volunteers and paid workers for Alley Cat allies are not “crazy cat ladies”. Alley Cat Allies saw that local and national animal shelters were too overwhelmed to deal with stray cats.
They do want to make the situation of the domestic cat better, but do not worship cats or make them into little people with fur. They do not lose sight of the fact that cats will be cats. Instead of trying to force feral cats to be like pet cats, they tried to work with the nature of the individual feral cat.
It was through the help of Alley Cat Allies that trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs began in areas with a high population of stray cats. Most animal rescue centers could only euthanized stray adult cats, because they could not be adopted. Sadly, adult feral cats (especially those over the age of four) cannot seem to adjust to domestication. When brought into a home, they spend most of their time hiding in a closet.
Although it was hard to face returning adult cats to the street (or forest or wherever), at least Alley Cat Allies realized that the cycle of suffering could eventually stop if the feral cats were sterilized. TNR programs are now considered commonplace in many parts of America. Hopefully in the future, there will not need to be a group in existence like Alley Cat Allies because all healthy cats will have homes.
Charity Navigator has only given Alley Cat Allies a three star rating. Some people refuse to support Alley Cat Allies because the charities’ CEO makes over $100,000 per year. Charity Navigator also notes that Alley Cat Allies will remove the names and contact information of all supporters who specifically ask that this information not be shared with other charities. (This is a common policy in American charities).
However, the results of what a charity does are what matters. Alley Cat Allies helps other charities in feral cat issues. It has a free website with loads of free information. It also has a political lobbying branch in order to change such things as requiring all animal rescue centers to release statements about the exact number of animals they euthanized per year.