For animal lovers, feral cats are viewed as harmless and are often cared for by people who feed them and provide shelter to protect them from the elements. Many rescue organizations across the country work tirelessly to manage feral cat colonies, which are groups of cats that live in the same area and form a sort of family bond. Despite years of trying to break down misconceptions about feral cats, there are others, who unfortunately, still see feral cats as a nuisance that destroys property and harms wildlife, especially birds. And for at least one person in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their solution to rid the city of the “nuisance” was to burn down the only shelter the local cat colonies had.

Stray Cat Relief Fund, a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter and medical attention for feral and abandoned cats, was the victim of such arson. Three different times in just two weeks, a colony of shelters for feral cats were completely destroyed.

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Stray Cat Relief Fund has since launched a fundraiser to build new shelters as soon as possible and the fundraiser has already brought in more than $22,000 in just three days! The funds will go directly to helping build outdoor houses for the cats (made out of straw, barrels and plastic containers), as well as a higher fence and hidden cameras. 

Stray Cat Relief Fund points out on their fundraising page that this is also a public safety matter. “We do not know who is committing these crimes, and they NEED to be caught … These are dangerous people,” the non-profit writes

Police and the Pennsylvania SPCA are investigating this senseless crime and several security cameras have already been put up around the Pier 70 area where the crime was committed. 

While it’s certainly disturbing that someone would set fire to a place serving a good cause such as providing homes for needy cats, Gillian Kocher, director of public relations for the Pennsylvania SPCA, notes that no cats have been killed that they know of. 

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This trio of kittens was rescued from the first fire. We are so thankful these sweet babies are out of harm’s way! 

 

Stray Cat Relief Fund also notes on their fundraising page that the feral cat colonies have been active for over 30 years and the non-profit stepped in to provide support just four years ago. If you would like to contribute to Stray Cat Relief Fund’s efforts to rebuild the cat shelters, you can make a donation here. Every little bit helps!

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With the ASPCA currently estimating that there about 20 million free-roaming cats (a mix of truly feral, semi-socialized cats, as well as lost or abandoned cats) in the U.S., there is always work to be done to help feral cats. One of the best ways to help cats is to volunteer with a rescue organization that helps manage feral cat colonies. Although feral cats are usually very wary of people, they can come to trust volunteers – or at least, trust them enough to happily accept much-needed supplies.

If you’re interested in helping feral cats in your area, check with organizations in your area for ways to get involved with education, advocacy, and trap-neuter-release programs that help provide a safe, healthy, and happy life for these misunderstood felines.

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For more information on feral cats and ways you can help, check out these other One Green Planet articles.

Image Source: Stray Cat Relief Fund/Facebook 

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