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Stray Cat Alliance Makes HISTORY
In 1997, Stray Cat Alliance did not exist, but an immense void did exist for caring citizens who wanted to help community cats. It was the year that founder and President Christi Metropole rescued her still-beloved cat Chloe from an untenable and disturbing homeless situation and was simultaneously introduced to her first backyard full of needy cats in Los Angeles. Her life—and that of thousands of Los Angeles-area felines—would never be the same.
The formerly-named Feral Cat Alliance evolved into its present iteration of Stray Cat Alliance. Along the way, it began a revolution of the best kind, one that would change the stray cat paradigm in this nation forever, and for the better. Where no resources formerly existed to help cats, now a solid and respected organization flourishes with the promise of more good works to come for cats.
Early on, Christi remembers the support of a wonderful friend, Marcie Rich, whose efforts on behalf of Stray Cat Alliance exist now in the form of “Trap Depot of West Los Angeles.” As the new movement gained momentum, Marcie acquired traps to loan to volunteers who learned proper and effective Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) protocol that has been refined with years of experience and passed down to the current volunteer force.
Unquestionably, it is the experience of Stray Cat Alliance leadership, staff and volunteer base that makes such a difference.
Hotline Rings True for the Cats
In 2000, as Stray Cat Alliance was incorporated as a nonprofit in California, its first “hotline” began fielding calls from hundreds of concerned citizens who also wanted to help stray cats but didn’t know how. Volunteers were immediately installed to staff the phone, which began “ringing off the hook” when word spread that such a resource—so vital to the community—was finally available! That hotline, responding to calls or emails, is now answered by trained staff whose only goal is to help thousands of people help thousands of cats.
Every day, Stray Cat Alliance receives plaintive and desperate inquiries about cats in and under buildings, in yards, on the street or in situations that are extremely dangerous for them. The organization returns every single call, providing timely, accurate and critical information that simply can’t be obtained elsewhere. It is a big job, and Stray Cat Alliance is proud to do it.
When Good People Get Bad Advice
The volunteers of Stray Cat Alliance recognize that people who want to do the right thing often receive the wrong advice, and that results can be tragic. Years of assisting with the same situations has resulted in the creation of several unwavering positions on policy.
1) Concerned citizens call to say animal control officers have ordered them to stop feeding. Stray Cat Alliance urges those people to actually feed the cats, even if someone else tells them not to. To just stop feeding cat, dependent on a human for food, is cruelty to animals—they can and do starve to death.
2) Additionally, Stray Cat Alliance has encountered numerous situations in which other well-meaning individuals are told by animal control to trap the cats and bring them to the pound. The organization’s policy is to completely disagree and to tell people not to surrender cats to their death sentence. Stray Cat Alliance does not to support any city codes that promote cruelty, and instead provides the public humane solutions about:
You’ve Got Questions?
In addition to the individuals, businesses and government entities that seek help on the hotline, Stray Cat Alliance volunteers provide crucial information to other nonprofit humane rescue groups that simply may not have as much broad experience sterilizing and managing colonies of cats. It’s been said Stray Cat Alliance’s “big picture expertise” means no one’s question goes unanswered.
“When we assist a person who wants to help a cat, it’s another wonderful victory and another giant step towards fulfillment of our mission,” says Christi. “The more that’s done, the more we know needs to be done.”
Now, Stray Cat Alliance is thankfully supported by a number of foundations that believe in the mission of TNR, public education and outreach to achieve a No Kill Nation. Thousands of supporters over the years have ensured that our two main programs, 1) Care for Ferals and 2) Adoptions, have saved thousands of lives.
Volunteers reflect on what was then and what is now, and often liken their experience to that memorable “The Lucy Show” episode during which Lucille Ball’s character is wrapping chocolates on the conveyor belt, doing just fine until the belt gets faster and faster. Discovering Chloe and her feline friends was the veritable “tip of the iceberg” for Stray Cat Alliance’s president and volunteers, who know that tomorrow will inevitably bring more challenges that will be faced with courage, conviction and capability.