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October 29 , 2010

Community Cats

A Journey into the World of Feral Cats
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It all started when a rat ran over author Dr. Anne E. Beall’s husband’s foot outside their Chicago home. The Bealls had experienced rat problems for a long time. Then, a neighbor told them about a program called Cats at Work where one could get feral cats that would take care of the rat problem.

In Community Cats, she tells how she and her husband entered the world of feral cats when they signed up for the Chicago Cats at Work program with Tree House Humane Society. Tree House practices TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), and they trapped, neutered, and relocated a feral cat colony to Beall’s home. She narrates what she learned about the unique world of feral cats and about the people who are involved with feral cats and who advocate for them.

Community Cats shares the story of what initially began as a creative solution to a rat problem and became a journey that led her to reach out to others in the feral-cat world. Beall interviewed other colony caretakers and leaders in the TNR movement and learned about how feral cats live, how they relate to one another, and how they relate to their caretakers. She also conducted survey research on American’s attitudes toward stray cats, TNR programs, and spaying/neutering.

Beall learned that feral cat programs have a huge impact on the caretakers of the colonies, on the neighbors, on the community, and on the cats themselves and details those findings in Community Cats.
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