As many of you are no doubt aware, Sunday is National Feral Cat Day, a holiday created 10 years ago by Alley Cat Allies “to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for them.” This year, there are more than 320 events planned across all 50 states.
Even so, I’ll bet there are a number of scientists, journalists, and others who—despite devoting a great deal of attention to the topic the rest of the year—have allowed the holiday to sneak up on them, and therefore haven’t made plans. Here, then, are some suggestions for how some of these folks (listed in no particular order) might mark the 10th annual National Feral Cat Day.
- Christopher Lepczyk, Assistant Professor in the University of Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, who, along with Tom Will (see below) will be organizing the Informing Local Scale Feral Cat Trap-Neuter-Release Decisions workshop at The Wildlife Society’s annual conference in November: Revisit your PhD work and see if you can actually get the predation “estimates” to add up. (Too late to address the flawed methods involved.)
- Tom Will, USFWS biologist: Launch a detailed survey to account for the 150 million cats you claim are (1) roaming the U.S., and (2) responsible for declining songbird populations.
- Michael Hutchins, TWS Executive Director/CEO: Fact-check your feral cat/TNR “fact sheets.”
- Steve Holmer, senior policy analyst, American Bird Conservancy: visit the CDC website, where you can review actual rabies exposure data.
- Anne Morkill, Wildlife Refuge Manager, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex: Resign.
- Timothy O’Hara, reporter for the Key West Citizen: Apply for a job in the USFWS PR office (no need to change what you write, of course).
- Nico Dauphine, who is scheduled to appear in court on the 24th of this month: Meet with a career counselor to discuss potential second acts.
- Peter Marra, research scientist with the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center (and Dauphine’s adviser): Return any public funding used to support the Center’s domestic cat research.
- Frank Gill, author of Ornithology and former chief scientist for the National Audubon Society: Issue a formal retraction of the sections describing predation by cats in both the second and third editions of Ornithology.
- Christine Stracey, author of “Resolving the urban nest predator paradox: The role of alternative foods for nest predators”: Redistribute your nest cameras to locations where there are predators other than cats.
- Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, wildlife veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute: Apologize to graduate student Shannon Fredebaugh, whose extensive fieldwork was rendered largely useless because of an insufficient literature review and flawed analysis techniques (mistakes that should be prevented/corrected by her committee chair).
- Kiera Butler, articles editor, Mother Jones magazine: Visit the San Francisco SPCA, where you might actually learn something about TNR.
- SF Weekly reporter Matt Smith: Coordinate SF SPCA visit with Kiera Butler. You two ought to have plenty to talk about.
- New York Times science writer Elisabeth Rosenthal: Update your contact list, removing Peter Marra and anybody from the American Bird Conservancy as reliable sources.
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Thank you to all those who—whether one day a year or year-round—raise awareness about, and care for, abandoned, stray, and feral cats, and promote TNR.