Editor's note: Identifying information has been generalized or changed to protect the anonymity of the kitties (honestly).
The Sunday morning routine starts the same. Check the back of the car for the tub of dry cat food (currently half full), the wet-food cans (plenty), and two water jugs (a quick fill-up in the kitchen sink gets them topped off). Then we drive about 12 minutes to a spot in the middle of a mid-sized mid-western city, where over 30 cats await us for their daily feeding.
We — my significant other and I — are stereotypical enthusiastic cat people. But we don’t hoard the cats at this covert spot just for fun. The feline residents of this colony, and many others spread across the city, state, and our country at large, represent safe havens where feral, free-roaming, abandoned, or stray cats (otherwise known as “community cats”) who have been trapped, neutered, and returned (TNR) to this location live out their lives in the care of human volunteers who bring food and water to them daily. TNR programs are meant to stabilize community cat populations and offer an effective and humane solution to the feline pet overpopulation problem.