Kitten Street Team Helps 1,000th Cat

Formed in the summer of 2020, this fiercely devoted group of Dakin volunteers, aptly known as the Kitten Street Team, spend the majority of their time working outside of our shelter walls.

This small but mighty group takes to the streets, literally, to use TNR (trap/neuter/return) to curb the population of feral cats in the Pioneer Valley. The Team responds to messages left by members of the public who have spotted colonies of feral cats, which are undomesticated felines that cannot live indoors. The KST visits the colony, begins the process of humanely trapping each cat in the group, brings them to Dakin for spay/neuter surgery and life-saving vaccines, then returns them to their colony site and releases them.

The KST is also always on the lookout for kittens within these colonies, as outdoor life is especially brutal for them. More than half never reach their first birthday because of harsh weather conditions, predators, and other hazards of outdoor living. If they’re young enough and able to be socialized to be with people, kittens found outdoors in feral colonies by the KST can find new lives as domestic pets through Dakin’s adoption program.

In late March, KST Member Alesha did something very special. Not only did she rescue a four-month-old kitten who was living with her mom and siblings in a heated shed (the kindhearted property owners were feeding the family), but that tiny, black and white kitten became the 1,000th cat helped by the KST in just under three years – a remarkable achievement!

The little record-breaker was named Milia, the Latin term for thousands. It’s a perfect name as it reflects the unwavering dedication the KST members have to help every feral cat possible, and their stats support this. In 2020, the KST members rescued 48 outdoor kittens that eventually made their way to Dakin’s adoption program. The following year that number more than doubled to 106, and in 2022, the total was 180.

Adult cats found by the KST to be friendly enough to become adoption candidates numbered 2 in 2020, 11 in 2021, and 63 in 2022. The total number of cats and kittens served by the KST also increases each year, starting with 116 in 2020, 329 in 2021, and 479 last year.

Congratulations to an amazing group of dedicated volunteers who comprise the Kitten Street Team. Your hard work, long hours, innovation, and compassion make an incredible difference!

Now that we’re beginning our warm weather days in New England, the outdoor cat and kitten popularity is expected to spike. If you see adult feral cats in your community, please contact Dakin by clicking here and filling out the online form. If you come upon kittens born outside, please call Dakin at (413) 781-4000. We’ll want to respond quickly, as kittens born outside are often sick and need urgent care.

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