If you follow Bisou and me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed Bisou has one unusual feature for a house cat. The tip of her right ear is missing, and though some have guessed she lost it in a cat fight, the truth is a little less exciting but meaningful nevertheless. You see, Bisou was a feral cat before I met her. Her tipped ear tells us that while she was spayed and vaccinated as part of a trap, neuter, return (TNR) program. TNR is just what it sounds like; feral and stray cats are humanely trapped, taken to a veterinary clinic where they are spayed or neutered and given immunizations, then released back into their colonies. Their right ears are tipped to indicate they’ve been through a TNR program. It’s a humane way to reduce the size of feral cat populations, while also improving the health and livelihoods of the cats in our communities who don’t have homes. Without TNR programs that support feral cat colonies and the dedicated volunteers who keep them running, I might never have found and adopted Bisou, so you can bet I’ll be celebrating National Feral Cat Day tomorrow!
Not all feral and stray cats can be adopted. Some have had no human socialization and don’t adapt well to living indoors with people, and in many communities, feral and stray populations are simply larger than the capacity of shelters to accommodate them. The good news is that there’s still a lot we can do to improve the lives of ferals and strays. You can learn to care for the feral cats in your neighborhood, donate to TNR programs and spread the word about TNR and free neuter-spay clinics in your area. Alley Cat Allies is a great resource for feral cat info, whether you’d just like to learn more about feral cats or you’re ready to start advocating for cats in your community. I’m sharing my love for feral cats (and my feral cat momma pride!) with this I ♥︎ Feral Cats tote. All you need to make it is some iron on transfer paper, a light colored tote or t-shirt and an inkjet printer. Just download the template I made so we can be tote twins and you, too, can start showing off your feral cat love! Read on for directions and the download.
- Light colored cotton tote bag or t-shirt
- I ♥︎ Feral Cats template
- Iron-on transfer paper for light fabrics
- Inkjet printer
- Download my template and print onto the iron-on transfer paper. Make sure you adjust your printer settings to print the template in REVERSE, so the text reads in the correct direction once it's ironed on.
- Cut out around and inside the cat head, staying close to the lines. Cut a large rectangle around the text.
- Iron the tote to remove wrinkles before applying the transfer. Iron the cat head cut out and text onto your tote according to the package instructions.