The Problem. Act Locally For Animals (ALFA) was set up to fund the neutering/spaying, care and feeding of homeless cats in Southwest Washington, DC.

Every dollar collected will go directly to that single endeavor.

Gentrification in Washington, DC has pushed many homeless animals out of once-abandoned buildings and into the streets. Additionally, as in the feral cat community at issue, building managers have threatened to evict tenants if they did not get rid of their pets, forcing tenants to abandon their animals to the elements. Compounding the problem, many of the animals that are released have not been spayed or neutered.

However, there are resources available! If the right steps are taken and information on available resources made well-known, the number of cats ending up in shelters and possibly put to sleep (because they are considered feral and unadoptable) can be drastically reduced. Ultimately, we hope that there will be a day when, a) every cat can be neutered and find a home, or, b) in the case of feral cats, every cat is maintained and cared for in a feral cat community and allowed to live out its natural life without adding to the colony.

What Can Be Done? At the heart of ALFA’s philosophy is the belief that existing feral cat communities can be reduced through natural attrition, while allowing the cats to live out their natural lives in freedom and safety. One of the key components of our plan is to use The Humane Society of the United States’Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program at the Washington Humane Society (WHS). This program aims to reduce the number of animals who enter shelters, and the feral cat community at large, by preventing the existing population from increasing through breeding. However, this takes a willingness on the part of the local community to help. We have that willingness and the enthusiasm to spread it. Now we just need some funding.

This “no kill” movement to trap, neuter and return cats to the community is growing as people are educated and see that this humane model works. Local cities, towns and counties are now realizing that they must also work with HOMELESS cat advocates when dealing with stray and feral cat populations. We simply cannot have animals reproducing, suffering and hungry, on the streets. Efforts such as ours require local steps to conquer this problem, but can be achieved.

Our Mission. Our immediate mission is to allow local Southwest, DC resident Tina Maddox to continue and expand the important work she is doing to care for her local homeless cat community. Tina has devoted her life to these cats. In the future, our mission will expand to include collaborating with other people who help feral cat communities in the area and conducting outreach activities that will educate the public on the humane treatment of animals in general and feral cats in particular.  Tina is already providing food weekly to a couple of neighboring people who are caring for other feral cat communities.

How Can You Help? For the short-run, we are aiming to raise approximately $40,000 per year for the operation of ALFA. For those of us in DC,  many give to political fundraisers that can raise that amount in one day.  We need that much for one whole year.  And it’s tax deductible. Most of this money will be used for food, veterinary care, and transportation to take cats to WHS for spaying and neutering services, and food for neighboring homeless cat communities.

This organization will hopefully be part of an even greater local network of similar organizations who aim to find humane solutions to the ever-increasing problem of feline overpopulation and the resulting suffering for these animals. It is nice to be able to help with something on the ground locally (cats on our doorstep) but still aim globally (in partnering with other organizations striving toward the humane treatment of animals). The goal is to make this first project with Tina’s work, as a test case and allow these cats to live out their lives outdoors, not reproduce, and to grow our board and donations in the future to help other folks who are doing the same kind of work in DC.   ALFA will be a vehicle to fund it. One project at a time. We will help make the lives of these cats a little better at a low cost.