Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Alley Cat Allies

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Bethesda, MD

500,000 in 2014

Animal protection

Area served
USA and globally


Alley Cat Allies Alley Cat Allies quotCautiously Optimisticquot on Cape May Plan for

Key people
Becky Robinson, President Donna Wilcox, VP and Board Chair

Best Friends Animal S, American Society for the Preve, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, The Humane Society of, Animal Legal Defense


Alley Cat Allies (incorporated on October 6, 1991) is a nonprofit advocacy organization whose mission is to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of cats. The organization advocates for reform of public policies and institutions to better serve the interests of cats and develops educational materials on feral cats and trap-neuter-return. The organization is based in Bethesda, Maryland.


Alley Cat Allies Alley Cat Allies Inc GuideStar Profile

Alley Cat Allies specialize 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. Alley Cat Allies, best known as the group that introduced trap-neuter-return to the United States, also educates the 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.

Alley Cat Allies Alley Cat Allies Teal Cat Project


Alley Cat Allies Alley Cat Allies alleycatallies Twitter

Alley Cat Allies was founded in 1990, by Becky Robinson and Louise Holton after they discovered an alley with 56 cats and two smaller colonies in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C.. They neutered the cats using the trap-neuter-return method. Deluged by requests for help with similar work, and aware of the lack of resources and information on the method, they formed a network for feral cats.

Robinson serves as the organization’s president, running the organization with Vice President and Board Chair Donna Wilcox. Holton left the organization in 2001, to form Alley Cat Rescue.

Selected history

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Programs and projects

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
  • References

    Alley Cat Allies Wikipedia