I’m a lifelong cat lady, and I’ve never not lived with cats.

In 2016, I was burned out on the freelance desk-job life, and I moved from DC to New York City to work four days a week at the ASPCA’s neonatal kitten nursery on the Upper East Side. (You can read more about it in this Refinery29 piece.)

After months of taking care of hundreds of orphaned kittens per day — many of them sick — it felt impossible for me not to adopt a kitten or two. I brought home Ivy — originally named Nike — and Fred when they were each 3 months old and approximately 3 pounds each. (I already had one senior cat, Batman, at home.)

Through my work at the kitten nursery, I saw firsthand the misery that ensues when people fail to spay and neuter their pets: cats breed, and breed, and then breed some more. Many of the resulting animals end up dumped on the street — or in a shelter, where they can be euthanized.

Millions of feral or community cats currently live on America’s streets, and it’s a brutal life. Outdoor cats battle inclement weather, accidents, starvation, illness, abuse, fights, and more. According to the ASPCA, almost 50 percent of the kittens born outside die from disease, exposure or parasites before they hit their first birthday.

TNR (trap neuter return) programs are the only compassionate solution. With TNR, feral cats are humanely trapped; taken to a free- or low-cost veterinary clinic for spay/neuter and, if the cat is truly feral and not a “friendly,” returned to their original outdoor environment.

In 2017, I took an easy 2-hour course to become TNR-certified myself. If you want to help reduce feline suffering, overpopulation, and the endless cycle of kittens dying outside, you should do the same.

In NYC, you can take a free, easy workshop through groups like the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, Neighborhood Cats, the ASPCA and more.

Have a question about cats, kitten nurseries, TNR, or the like? Get in touch.