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If a cat wandered across your path while you were out walking in your neighborhood, what would you think? Most likely you would assume that the cat lived in a home and has a guardian. For the most part, the cats we encounter everyday are domestic cats, perhaps they’re outdoor cats or maybe they’ve escaped through the doggy-door, but these cats definitely live in someone’s home. Right?

Actually, no, this is not always the case. Many of the cats we encounter outdoors are actually strays, living amongst a community of feral cats. In the U.S. there are approximately 70 million stray animals that populate our streets and neighborhoods. And despite this rather overwhelming number, homeless animals are predominantly overlooked. Whether we never see these animals because our towns have a rigorous trap and kill program, or we have simply been trained to ignore animals that don’t “belong” to us, assuming they are someone else’s problem, these 70 million beings have fallen through the cracks of our lauded system of domestication.

Since we have normalized the concept of domesticated dogs and cats into our worldview we seemingly can’t even imagine that these animals would even be able to exist outside the comforts of our homes. As the result, we have created a very fractured and marginalized image of what life for a “stray” animal is like.

So what does life for an animal that doesn’t call a human’s house “home,” look like? This is a question Elizabeth and Jason Putsche have set out to answer.

The Mysterious Lives of Community Cats

Jason and Elizabeth Putsche are quite the extraordinary couple. Combining Elizabeth’s background working in animal rights and protection, with Jason’s photography expertise, the pair recently founded Photographers for Animals, a non-profit that aims to “build glass walls” around the animal world. Using photographs and videos, the couple are removing the invented boundary separating humans from the animal world, helping to raise awareness for all orders of animals that would be otherwise overlooked and marginalized.

Community cats are one of the first subjects that Photographers for Animal has taken on. As Elizabeth Putsche explains to OGP, this is because, “there is a stigma and perception about stray and feral cats. They aren’t always presented in the best light,” she continues,”for example when portrayed in cartoons, they are dirty and digging through garbage cans — and they can be wary of people and as nocturnal animals they just aren’t that visible.”

We assume that when cats aren’t carefully kept in the care of a human, they suddenly become dirty, unkempt, disease-ridden species. And largely, this negative perception has lead to the development of inhumane programs and systems that lead to the unnecessary deaths of millions of cats and other animals every year.

Putsche tells OGP,” in reality, they [feral cats] are beautiful creatures,” and in fact, “Community cats are quite adept at living outdoors. We have seen longed haired cats, perfectly groomed, that could just as easily be sitting in someone’s living room.”

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs
 

Feral cats possess all the natural instincts a house cat would, if not more so because they have learned how to hunt, where to take shelter, and how to interact with the world around them.

Putsche elaborates, “Many people think all cats belong inside,” and as the result, when they see a cat outdoors they think, “[that] must be someone’s pet that got out, or that the cat needs help or needs a home. “In this manner, many people feel obligated to call animal control and report the stray animal. “They think they are helping the cat by getting it to a shelter where they can be adopted — when really millions of cats have never spent a minute inside a house, nor would they want to.”

Additionally, by reporting this cat and turning them into a shelter, they may be endangering the cat’s life. Depending on the area, the cat could be taken to a high-kill shelter and ultimately put down, despite the fact that is was perfectly healthy and able to survive.

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs
 

The mission behind the Putsche’s  ”Community Cat” project is to change our perceptions towards feral cats and show how they can be a perfectly symbiotic part to our world.

Putsche tells OGP, “In other areas, especially more rural areas, cats are always outdoors. They are part of the landscape, and many times serve as rodent control. We want people to know that all cats have homes — they just aren’t all with people.

Additionally, the project aims to show that there are humane alternatives to shuttling stray cat communities into shelters.

“There are ways to improve an outdoor cat’s life, through Trap-Neuter-Return. But even if you do nothing — the cats are still ok outdoors,” says Putsche.

A Better Solution for Community Cats

Of the 70 million stray animals that live in the U.S. only about six to eight million make their way into the shelter system. Only about three or four million of animals in shelters are adopted into homes.

Putsche tells OGP, “Nationally, over 70 percent of all cats that enter shelters are killed there — on top of that, feral cats are not socialized, so they can’t be adopted.”

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs
 

By integrating TNR programs into shelters, cats that aren’t adopted can be released back into their community. Putsche formerly worked with Alley Cat Allies, the national non-profit dedicated to the protection of community cats, and has seen the success of TNR programs in action. By trapping stray cats, bringing them to be neutered or spayed, docking their ears to indicate they’ve been neutered, and then releasing them back into the community, neighborhoods can better control stray cat populations and learn to live in harmony with their feral friends.

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs

 

The photos of cats with docked ears featured in “Community Cats” represent cats that have been part of a TNR program. Putsche tells OGP, “More and more cities are adopting TNR ordinances and policies. Not only are they saving cats’ lives, they are saving money — tax dollars and donations. It costs a lot to kill one cat — let alone millions.”

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs

 

In this manner, Photographers for Animals hopes to bring awareness to the animal rights issues that rarely get our attention. When people see stunning images of cats living happily outdoors in a community independent of humans, they are inspired to learn more and to explore options like TNR programs to help preserve these beautiful animals.

Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs
 

Putsche tells OGP, “We want people to see these beautiful cats — and recognize that they deserve the same respect and protection that we afford our pet cats at home. Whether someone chooses to go to the next level and help trap and neuter the cats in their community or not — there is no reason these cats should killed in animal shelters.”

Every animal has a right to exist on its own terms, without the intervention of humans … even if those interventions are of the best intention.

Check out the many beautiful faces Jason and Elizabeth have captured. Share these images and help them in their mission to save community cats.

Holabird Cat Colony
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 17
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 16
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 11
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 12
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 13
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 14
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 15
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 08
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 09
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 06
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 03
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 04
Jason Putsche Photography - Comm Cats 05
 

To learn more about how you can advocate for feral cats, check out Alley Cat Allies. To follow the work of Photographers for Animals, check out their website and Facebook page.

All image source: Jason Putsche



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0 comments on “This Incredible Couple is Changing the World for Feral Cats Through Photographs”

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Polina Kokosh
10 Months Ago

I am really glad that people become more concerned about well-being of animals surrounding us... more and more people become more conscious and looking for an opportunity to make this world a better place to live...


Reply
lotielz
1 Years Ago

Thank you, TNR Researcher. Cats are a domestic animal, not wildlife. There are many, many photos missing from this feel good article. Where are all of the endangered and protected species that these cats are killing? Where are the sick and injured cats? Where are the car killed cats? Those are realities that TNR and other roaming cat advocates want to pretend are not reality. This couple only focuses on the cute and fuzzy, which is fine as long as the cats are on your property and no one else\'s. Anyone who owns or cares for a domestic animal, especially a predatory one, needs to contain it for the safety of the animal and the safety of environment on which it has an impact (domestic cats are threatening our native wildcats with their diseases and carry zoonotic diseases).


Reply
TNR Researcher
21 Aug 2014

If they want, they can see what 99.9999% of all their other cats look like after they\'ve been treated to their "loving" TNR efforts and eventually die of their loving and humane "attrition". Here\'s just a handful of the vast majority of cat photos missing from this smarmy, feel-good, self-deceptive, and self-serving article.

tnrfactcheck.org/tnr-handbook.html

Oh wait, that\'s right. If they don\'t have maimed, suffering, diseased, and dead cats in all the streets of the world; then however can they parade them in the media to line their own bank-accounts by asking for donations from easily manipulated fools? There\'s no money to be made off of suffering and unwanted cats if you humanely euthanize them first. Oh no, they must continue to torture them to death through their loving and humane "attrition" or there\'s no money to be made, now is there.

Their karma awaits them. Maybe they need to be treated the same way as they treat their cats. Throw them all out on the streets to fend for themselves and fight to the death for territory, let them die of disease, being eaten from the inside-out by parasites, and hit & run accidents. They\'d all deserve it, every last one of them. They need to feel what their "loving" attrition is all about, until they too all die from it at an all too-young age.

TNR Researcher
1 Years Ago

Here\'s how you can make any cat-licking, facts-twisting, propaganda-spewing fool reveal just how absurd, hypocritical, ignorant, stupid, and ludicrous ALL their beliefs are; all with just ONE simple question. Ask them:

"If you believe that these cats are a natural part of the environment and belong out in nature, then why are you even bothering to sterilize them?"

Blatantly ignorant hypocrites much?

Their agreement to sterilize them is their very agreement that they don\'t even belong there in the very first place. Is this too difficult for them to comprehend? Must be.


Reply
AnimalAdvocate
21 Aug 2014

Wow. I will address only the blatantly stupid remark at the end. The reason organizations sterilize feral cats is because, unlike wild animals with many natural predators, cats will breed out of control and will suffer from lack of resources, and at the hands of hate-filled humans. That doesn\'t mean they don\'t belong in our communities. You should channel some of that passion for eliminating community cats into something positive instead.

lotielz
21 Aug 2014

Cats are already out of control despite effort by TNR advocates. The fact is that they are a domestic predator. That is enough reason to remove them from areas where they are doing damage. I don\'t think the world is going to become a responsible place anytime soon. TNR will never catch up with the jerks who throw a cat outside to fend on its own. It is up to those who are compassionate enough to realize the difference between wildlife and a predatory domestic animal that 80 million feral and free roaming cats is beyond out of balance. Cats need to be contained. No property owner should be subjected to the idea of community cats anymore than they should be expected to accept packs of feral dogs.

Jim Levine
22 Sep 2014

Do TNR advocates really believe neutering a handful of cats reduces the overall population? If you have 10 cats and neuter 3 (30%) do you think you\'ve done any population reduction? You haven\'t. The remaining 7 intact cats make up for the difference in less than a year. Notice your pictures above. What percent are ear-tipped? Even in an article taking a positive spin on TNR that can\'t find a colony with 100% neutering. Why? Because they don\'t exist. Also consider that even if you neuter 100% of a colony, you still have free-roaming intact cats throughout the city being fed 365 days a year. Can you honestly tell me it\'s a good idea to provide supplemental food to a predator? Do you know what that does to the population of it\'s prey? It destroys it. If the cats aren\'t fed and prey populations drop....so do the predators. This allow the prey population to build up again. When you provide food you disrupt this balance. You can TNR all you want. You\'re numbers are low and if you want to waste your money, go ahead. But feeding predators....that\'s gotta stop!

TNR Researcher
1 Years Ago

Oh yes, they most certainly are changing the planet.

Birds are just a minor subset of all the thousands of native animal species (billions of individual animals) that cat-lickers (criminally irresponsible cat-advocates) are annihilating around the world with their man-made invasive species vermin cats.

Not only are these demented invasive-species house-cats-ONLY "animal lovers" now killing off all Big Cats in all wildlife reserves around the world:

thenational.ae/news/uae-news/big-cat-owners-warned-to-keep-them-acres-away-from-feral-strays

And for the ultimate example of absurdity and species-conservation irony, now making all moggie-licking residents of the UK (the inventors of that TNR insanity) the complete laughingstocks of the whole world, they\'ve already made their ONE AND ONLY NATIVE CAT SPECIES EXTINCT in the UK with their invasive species "moggies":

guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/16/scottish-wildcat-extinction

"A report, produced by the Scottish Wildcat Association, reviewed 2,000 records of camera trap recordings, eyewitness reports and road kills, and concluded there may be only about 40 wildcats left in Scotland in the wild today. \'However you juggle the figures, it is hard to find anything positive,\' says Steve Piper, the association\'s chairman. \'The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months.\'" ... "However, it is not the loss of habitat that is causing the current cat crisis in the Cairngorms. It is the spread of the domestic cat." ... "\'Essentially the Highland wildcat is being eradicated by an alien invasive species: the domestic cat.\'" (report quoted from 2 years ago, they are no-doubt extinct by now)

As well as killing off all their inland River Otters in England (and elsewhere) with their cats\' parasites:

wildlifeextra.com/go/news/otter-toxoplasmosis.html

As well as cats\' parasites killing off all rare and endangered marine mammals on all coastlines around the world (worse than any oil-spill that has ever existed or could even be imagined):

news.msn.com/science-technology/deadly-cat-feces-killing-thousands-of-marine-mammals
environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/hawaiian-monk-seals

Plus these cat-licking "animal lover" psychopaths and sociopaths are also killing off all the Mountain Lions (Cougars, Puma, Endangered Florida Panther, etc.), and all other native cat species in North America:

rapidcityjournal.com/sports/local/feral-cats-pose-threat-to-birds-lions/article_8ec451c9-4b03-55a3-baa7-71ac577905cb.html

But now these cat-lickers are even killing off rare whales and causing massive birth-defects in the indigenous Inuit people who depend on seal-meat for their very survival. Seals that were infected (and are also dying-off) from these cat-lickers\' cats\' parasites.

Cat parasite found in western Arctic Beluga deemed infectious
news.ubc.ca/2014/02/13/bigthaw/

Let\'s thank these psychotic bible-home-schooled cat-lickers for all the fine work they do for being such fantastic "animal lovers", shall we? THEY JUST LOVE CATS SO MUCH! So caring! So thoughtful! So intelligent! So FULL of love for living things! So much so that they will even sacrifice whole races of humans to death-by-birth-defect to prove how much they love their cats.

I\'d love to thank them all, each with a gift of a solitary-confinement prison-cell -- FOR LIFE. Better yet, for their VAST ecological crimes and sins against all of nature and all of humanity, hanged-until-dead would be a far more fitting "gift" for them AND the whole planet. That used to be the punishment for engaging in bio-warfare against the human population and all other animal life in any country. I say bring it back -- special, just for them.


Reply
TeriT
1 Years Ago

Fantastic photos...I care for a colony of feral cats through our TNR program in Stanislaus County CA...I am very pleased to see this and hope that it will help educate people about the feral cats in their neighborhoods...I believe that they are getting a bum rap...my colony rarely kills birds they are more interested in the rodents in the area...and most of the neighbors have crops so they are glad to see the cats...they keep mice, rats, and the gophers in check...and with TNR the population of my colony dropeed from about 40 cats to about 20...LOVE this!


Reply
TNR Researcher
21 Aug 2014

If you think that cats make good rodent control, think again.

Your myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there\'s nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents -- all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction -- even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly. And I bet you think of yourself as educated.

The rodents reproduce in burrows and holes out of the reach of cats, where they are happy to reproduce forever to entertain cats the rest of their lives, and make your own lives miserable, on into infinity. On top of that, when cats infect rodents with cat\'s Toxoplasma gondii parasite, this hijacks the minds of rodents to make the rodents attracted to where cats urinate. ( scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html )

Cats actually attract disease-carrying rodents to where cats are. The cats then contract these diseases on contact with, or being in proximity to, these rodents. Like "The Black Death", the plague, that is now being transmitted to humans in N. America directly from cats that have contracted it from rodents. (Yes, the plague is alive and well and being transmitted by cats today. Many people have already died from cat-transmitted plague; all three forms of it, septicemic, bubonic, and even pneumonic transmitted by cats.)

Cats attracting these rodents right to them further increasing the cat/rodent/disease density of this happy predator/prey balance. It has been documented many many times. The more cats you have, the more rodents and diseases you get. I even proved this to myself when having to rid my lands of hundreds of these vermin cats by shooting and burying every last one of them. A rodent problem started to appear about the same time the cats started to show up, 15 years of it. Then all rodent problems disappeared after every last cat was shot-dead and safely disposed of. All the better NATIVE rodent predators moved back into the area after the cats were dead and gone. Not seen one cat anywhere nor had even one rodent in the house in nearly five years now.

Cats DO NOT get rid of rodents. I don\'t care how many centuries that fools will claim that cats keep rodents in-check, they\'ll still be wrong all these centuries. Civilizations of humans have come and gone in great cities like Egypt, yet their cats and rodents remain in even greater pestilent numbers.

No cat population anywhere has ever been able to control rodents effectively. But native predators can -- easily.

Keep deceiving your astoundingly ignorant selves.

You might also enjoy knowing ...

If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you\'ve already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats\' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. This is also how this cats\' brain-parasite gets into your meats and on your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites\' oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach nor hydrochloric-acid will destroy this parasites\' oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has shat in.

This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats\' parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals (dolphins, seals, otters, even whales) along all coastal regions around the world from run-off containing this cat-parasite.

Children on farms and ranches also learn how to be a good steward of their lands when it comes to invasive domesticated species like cats, with one simple statement from the parents, "If you see a cat more\'n 100 yards from any building, shoot it! It\'s up to no good."

So the next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that\'s precisely how that food supply got to your mouth -- whether you want to face up to it or not. It\'s not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

AmyB
1 Years Ago

This is wonderful. I was very pleased to read that they are working with Alley Cat Allies, one of my favorite organizations. I also noted that they had at least one photo from one of the best run feral programs, Project Bay Cat. I am a proud supporter of TNR programs. And I am the happy human to 5 rescued kitties.


Reply
Diane
19 Aug 2014

I am happy to see someone highlighting feral cats. We need more of this to educate people. Two comments: TNR reduces the kitten population and keeps adult cats healthier than if they were left to reproduce & fight for mating rights. Feral cats that are reported to and picked up by animal control are often euthanized in the van. There is NO hope for for them at ANY public shelter.

TNR Researcher
21 Aug 2014

Can you spell "Hoax" & "Fraud"?

These TNR cat-lickers (criminal outdoor-cat-hoarders) who re-spew all the highly manipulative and deceptive lies and misinformation of Alley-Cat-All-Lies didn\'t do their due-diligence research.

Here\'s the very first link that any of their followers and supporters should have checked out.

bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/animal-protection/alley-cat-allies-in-bethesda-md-107/financial

They don\'t even meet the criteria to qualify for being a reputable charity organization under "Better Business Bureau" standards. While Becky and all her close friends are laughing all the way to the bank to the tune of $5M in assets with a $6M income. (Their 2013 financial report now puts their income at over $7.2M last year.)

They all flew to Hawaii last fall for another "cat-conference" because, for some unknown reason, they had to be there to discuss these issues. (I wonder how many cats could have been saved from freezing to the pavement this last winter from the price of all their flights and lodging and luxurious food, drink, and entertainment in Hawaii? But these TNR group-leaders were so warm and having so much fun!)

For another good laugh check out how much Becky and her friend pay themselves with everyone else\'s money.

bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/animal-protection/alley-cat-allies-in-bethesda-md-107/governance-and-staff

They have now been launching some damage-control with their new "Future Five" program to prove to everyone their true and trustworthy intentions. Awarding a princely $5,000 grant to some deserving group. $5,000 is only 0.1% of their assets, 0.08% of their yearly income. They might as well just sh** in the face of every last fool that ever donated to them.

Support yet another organization that exploits and perpetuates the suffering of animals for their own personal financial gain, then try to sleep well at night.

This is even more "rich". I recently discovered that anyone who posts a request for financial help on Alley-Cat-All-Lies Facebook pages is then referred to this page of theirs: alleycat.org/economy

Not ONE link on that page refers to getting actual financial help from Alley-Cat-All-Lies themselves. And even more rich, their very first resource that they send people to, to feed their feral cats, is a national food-bank organization where people donate food to feed needy humans. They are taking the food out of the mouths of needy human infants to feed their diseased vermin cats.

I don\'t think I\'ve seen a sadder and more sorry and despicable case of "charity" in my whole life before this.

lotielz
21 Aug 2014

Feral advocates think they are doing something positive by saving cats, but you are not really saving any animal by abandoning a domestic predator out into the unknown, fixed or not. Car kills, disease, and the toll on wildlife are not doing anything to help cats or the dwindling wildlife that the maul and kill. Have any of the Alley Cat supporters volunteered their time at a wildlife rehab to help care for or euthanize the cat mauled birds and baby wildlife? No domestic animal should be abandoned and maintained in an outdoor hoarding situation. I have counted six road killed cats on a stretch of rural road out here in the last 2.5 months. One had a collar on. I for one am sick of the carnage.



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