In the beginning…

St. Louis City Kitties was born when a group of St. Louisans, seeing the
large number of stray and homeless cats in their neighborhoods, began
working together to do something about it. Embracing Trap-Neuter-Return
as the nationally accepted humane and effective way to care for
community (ie wild, or feral, domestic cats), these volunteers partnered
with other Trap-Neuter-Return advocates and the City of St. Louis Health
Department (of which Animal Control is a division). The goal was to
implement Trap-Neuter-Return as a city wide program, to end “catch and
kill” as the institutionalized method of controlling the feral cat population,
and to move St. Louis toward being a “no kill” city.  These programs are
well under way, and tremendous progress has been made toward these

However, during the course of this work, it became evident that many,
many homeless cats living on the streets of St. Louis are not truly feral.  
They are “friendlies,” cats that once had human homes and now found
themselves without one.  Remaining unaltered, these cats breed and
produce kittens who are unsocialized and, after seven weeks of age,  are
unsocializable to humans. Thus, no matter how effective is the TNR
program supported by the City Department of Health and the Mayor’s
office, more cats flow to the streets, more kittens are born, and the cycle
continues. The pressure on the shelter network in the area is profound;
there is quite literally, no room at the inn. As we encountered these
“friendlies”, we began to discover how many cats there are in precarious
living situations who, had their owners and caregivers received only a
modicum of support, would not find themselves homeless.

We encountered elderly, disabled and other caregivers in need who,
lacking transportation, funds, or even knowledge of the available
programs, allowed a companion cat to go un-neutered. Within a very short
time (one un-altered female cat can lead to a population of 53 cats in only
16 months time) the already struggling caregiver is faced with an
untenable situation: more cats than they can afford to feed or provide
veterinary care for, unsanitary and unhealthy physical conditions for
themselves and the cats (hoarding), and the tremendous stress brought
on by the pressure and isolation of neighborhood stigma and
unresolvable financial burdens (many caregivers are on fixed incomes.)

We also found other complications from the fact that our served
population had no knowledge of new City policies and programs.  Faced
with the outdated belief that to reach out for help – to animal control or to
shelters – would result in their beloved companions being killed, these
kind people struggle on in isolation. We have seen over and over how
when a neighbor or a friend dies, an already overburdened caregiver will
take in yet more cats fearful that animal control would come and kill the
cats of their deceased friend.

No one deserves to live in squalor, fear, and isolation, especially not
compassionate people who are doing the best they can for the creatures
who come their way, with what limited resources they have.  Over and over
again, research has shown the benefits to the homebound, elderly,
disabled and people facing medical challenges, the benefits of living with
companion animals, as well as the benefit to the community of working
neighborhood cat colonies in rodent and disease vector control. No one
should have to choose between providing for themselves or providing for
the cats in their care.

From this need St. Louis City Kitties was born. Our simple goal is to help
people help their cats. We work to connect people who have resources of
money, skill, time and knowledge with people and kitties in need of those
In the Beginning