[Vision2020] Caturday (March 27, 2021)

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sat Mar 27 05:52:12 PDT 2021

"Community cats are an underdog and yet they still need care. They are out here because people failed them and forgot them." 4Paws, a home-based group that in its 20 years has rescued more than 10,000 cats hasn't forgotten them. Welcome to Caturday

Courtesy of 

'Community cats are an underdog': Inside the secret world of northern Va. cat colonies

Reporter’s Notebook: Thousands of feral felines live in concealed cat communities throughout our region. One reason their numbers aren’t exploding is thanks to a handful of volunteers with a group that traps, spays, neuters and releases these creatures.
Near a nondescript apartment complex in Fairfax County, Marsha Herndon, a volunteer for 4Paws Rescue Team, heads into a fascinating world hidden in plain sight, a world teeming with life in this bamboo forest.
Shrouded in thickets of brush or nestled in cozy parking lot corners throughout the region are colonies of cats living under the radar and surviving thanks to Herndon and other 4Paws volunteers.

“It’s a pretty safe spot for the kitties," Herndon says. "They certainly could be a lot worse off than they are here. We have some shelters over here for them. I know they use them. I just saw one kitty run over there.”

And on this day, a rare daytime sighting of a cat. Feral cats are generally not fond of human interaction.

“I used to see feral cats and it used to bother me because I thought about what life they had," she said. "I just felt compelled to get involved.”

Herndon is one of a handful of volunteers with 4Paws who feeds these outdoor creatures in a program saving countless cats.

“I have a humane trap here," she told us.

Lisa Willey, dubbed the cat wrangler, heads up a practice called TNR, which stands for Trap, Neuter and Return. This county-approved practice puts a huge dent in the cat overpopulation crisis.

“What we try to do is get them trapped so that we can get them spayed and neutered,” says Willey.

After being spayed or neutered and receiving vaccinations, the cats are returned to their respective communities, where volunteers feed them.

“Well, we just left fresh food and we are hoping that the kitties will be coming soon after dark and eating it up before any of the raccoons get it.”

Willey knows that raccoons and other furry animals join the cats at night because for quite some time she’s been capturing their movements with a motion sensor camera.

“By day we see birds and by night we see cats,” says Willey.
Whether abandoned, dumped, or born in the wild, these felines have a friend in 4Paws, a home-based group that in its 20 years has rescued more than 10,000 cats. Lisa Willey estimates she’s trapped more than 1,000 cats in a TNR program helping these elusive and intriguing creatures live better, more responsible lives.
“Community cats are an underdog and yet they still need care. They are out here because people failed them and forgot them.”

To learn more about 4Paws and opportunities to volunteer click here.


Photos . . .












“Caturday” by Linus Petit

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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