Alley Cat Allies is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect and improve the lives of cats. In 1990, Becky Robinson founded the organization after discovering an alley with 56 feral Cats in Washington, DC. The local animal shelter wanted to kill these cats but Becky acted quickly; humanely trapping, neutering and releasing all the cats. This experience is what led Robinson to form Alley Cat Allies. In 1993, Alley Cat Allies developed its own distinct system of protocols for Trap/Neuter/Return. More than 4,000 humane societies and shelters use Robinson’s guidelines and they are the best TNR practices known today. Along with being the founder of Alley Cat Allies, Becky Robinson is also an ecofeminist, which means she believes that discrimination and oppression based on gender, race, and class directly correlates to the exploration and devastation of the environment and animals. Alley Cat Allies work with other ecofeminist, such as Feminist for Animal rights; in order to work together to end all forms of abuse against both animals and women.
With the support of 600,000 cat experts, grassroots organizers, attorneys, and researchers, Alley Cat Allies pursues three main goals: changing communities for cats, saving cats’ lives in shelters, and protecting cats in society. Since their caretaking of their first feral cat colony, Alley Cat Allies has fueled a small revolution in how people think about feral cats by offering programs, humane education, and advocating changes to outdated policies. Alley Cat Allies partners with shelters to help rewrite ordinances, edit protocols, and educating staff and animal control officers. In addition, Alley Cat Allies teaches shelters how to enact Trap-Neuter-Return programs, which can end the cycle of impounding and killing healthy cats, allowing shelters to look at more resources on adoptable animals.
In addition to addressing animal cruelty, Alley Cat Allies also address ecological issues through their work. On average, free-ranged home cats, those whose owners feed them and let them roam freely, kill 23-46 birds each per year. There is an estimated 30-80 million feral cats, which are likely to kill more birds without access to regular feeding. Increasing predation on these birds can have devastating environmental impacts, adding on to pressure from climate change. Increased predation depresses bird populations, leading to a decrease in pollination, seed dispersal, and food web maintenance. Without strong bird populations, these ecosystems services will be diminished, and, if current conditions persist, be eradicated. Through Alley Cat Allies, Trap-Neuter-Return programs, they decrease reproduction in these feral cat populations. Because of this decrease, birds will experience less predation.
Alley Cat Allies succeeded in expanding the accessibility of affordable spay and neuter services and has made an immense impact on society through campaigns including: Every Kitty, Every City; Veterinary Awareness; and Feral Friends Network. Alley Cat Allies is important because it contributes to the larger social movement against animal cruelty, including smaller movements focusing on deforestation, the meat industry, kill shelters, the fur industry, animal testing, and protecting endangered species.
For more information about Alley Cat Allies and their current projects, click here.