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12 Days Xmas 2010, Day 12
Holiday Project: 12 Days of Christmas 2010

Day 12 - What They Really Want Is To Live
"Dedicated to the Wild Ones on a Cold Snowy Night"

Toy and Treats....collars and cozy beds are all nice, but, the one thing all animals really want for Christmas is to live. On this final and belated 12th Day of Christmas, we have only to look out of our window to know how important this last message is. This 12th Day of Christmas is dedicated to all of the animals that live outdoors or in the wild. Although our message covers all animals....squirrels, raccoons, birds, mice and rats, bats, coyotes, etc....this message will focus primarily on what have come to be known as feral cats. 

A very important component of the No Kill paradigm is a program called TNR, which stands for Trap-Neuter-Return.  A national organization that is an excellent resource for information about how you can advocate for outdoor cats is Alley Cat Allies.  According to Alley Cat Allies, 70% of the cats that enter our nation's animal control pounds and shelters are killed.

Locally, The New York City Feral Cat Initiative is a joint program of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and Neighborhood Cats, two private non-profit organizations. Their mission is to solve the feral cat overpopulation crisis in New York City through the humane, non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR for short. They even offer seminars where you can learn to "Manage a Feral Cat Colony"

Note from Camille:  Following is a poem I found, entitled Frosty Night. It really struck a chord with me tonight, as I deal with the 18 inches of snow on the ground in Brooklyn and trying to bring my feral cat colony warm food and fresh water through the night.

by Mavis Jolley

It's evening and it's time to put my head down on my paws,
It's not the sort of night when I would venture out of doors,
From out the window I can see the garden turning white,
May Heaven help the feral cats out there on such a night!

May someone see them running across the frozen grass,
And put a little food that they might find it when they pass.
It only takes a minute and some pence to buy a tin,
And a little thought to put a box a feral can get in.

When people open doors at night, and see them scurry round,
Searching for any bits of food upon the frozen ground,
They say 'There's nothing wrong with them, they run around all right,'
But it takes a while to starve - it doesn't happen overnight.

Their silent forms slip past the door and nothing's left to see,
So who knows what they're suffering or how near death may be?
Then people say they're happy living rough. That isn't true,
They have no choice - I ought to know, for I was feral too.

For me, my luck was in; some caring folk came with a trap,
And a patient lady trained me into sitting on her lap.
At first I thought my pounding heart would burst out of my fur,
But now I love to sit there and never want to stir.

So things worked out all right for me, I'm someone's lucky pet,
But memories of the past are there and stir within me yet.
I pray before I fall asleep, beside the fire bright,
'May heaven help the feral cats out there on such a night.'


Outdoor animals are at risk in the blizzard conditions that are currently hitting the great New York/New Jersey area.  Please be mindful of the fact that because of the heavy snow and freezing conditions, animals will be unable to drink water and eat from their customary places.  Peanuts for squirrels, a dish of warm food and clean water for cats, some wild birdseed for our winged friends, these small things could save a life and bring comfort to many.  If there are outdoor cats in your neighborhood, learn about managing a feral cat colony, learn about spay/neuter programs for feral and outdoor cats. You can also learn how to make your shelters very inexpensively

If you see an animal that is in trouble, please do not turn away. You may be the only one standing between life and death for that animal.  For our wild friends there are rescue groups and wildlife rehabbers that specialize in different animals.  If you cannot do the rescue yourself, find someone who will do it or someone that will help you to do it. Don't turn your back to suffering,with the thought that someone else will shoulder the responsibility.

Be a voice for outdoor animals. Because like everyone else, THEY WANT TO LIVE.



No Kill New York is a coalition of individuals and groups dedicated to ending the abuse, the exploitation and the killing of animals.  It is our primary mission to end the killing of animals in the NY Shelter System.  We believe that animals have the inherent right to live, and to be treated with respect and dignity.  No animal should be killed for any reason other than for dire and untreatable medical conditions.  No animal should be treated as a disposable object.

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