Language That Harms Cats

Recorded On: 08/18/2021

How we talk about cats can influence public attitudes and behavior, so it is important to consider the words, images and stories we use - particularly when we are trying to change the way the public views and responds to our work.

Does the term “feral” hamper efforts to gain public support for community cat programs? How might your fundraising appeals accidentally create backlash against those same programs? In this fast-paced and thought-provoking webinar from Million Cat Challenge, we’ll see how we often talk about cats may actually be bad for them and make our work harder. We'll have time after the webinar for discussion and figuring this out together. Plus, there may be bingo.  


Danielle Bays, Senior Analyst, Cat Protection & Policy, The Humane Society of the United States

Monica Frenden-Tarant, Maddie's Director of Feline Lifesaving, American Pets Alive!

Julie Levy, Co-Founder, Million Cat Challenge, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at University of Florida


community cats, Million Cat Challenge, Animal & Population Management, marketing, Keep companion animals in their homes and neighborhoods, Rehome Pets Without the Shelter System, foster care, maximize in care welfare, optimize foster care

Julie Levy, DVM (Moderator)

Co-Founder, Million Cat Challenge, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF

Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at UF

Dr. Julie Levy is the Fran Marino Endowed Distinguished Professor of Shelter Medicine Education at the University of Florida, where she focuses on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, and humane alternatives for cat population control. She founded Operation Catnip, a community cat trap-neuter-return program that has spayed, neutered, and vaccinated more than 80,000 cats in Gainesville since 1998. A decade later, she joined Dr. Cynda Crawford to launch Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine. This educational and discovery initiative has a global impact on the care of homeless animals and served as the academic home for development of the Fear Free Shelters program. She later teamed up with Dr. Kate Hurley to start the Million Cat Challenge, a shelter-based campaign that saved more than 5 million cats in shelters across North America and then Maddie’s Million Pet Challenge to create transformative “communities of practice” that deliver access to care through humane community-centric programming—inside and outside of the shelter—to achieve the right outcome for every pet.

Monica Tarant

Give Them Ten

Monica Tarant is the Chief Innovation Officer with the Give Them Ten Movement and is helping create cat caring communities across the country.

A decade before anyone had heard of such a thing, she cut her teeth founding a trap-neuter-return organization in rural Illinois and pioneered one of the nation's first and largest working cat programs. In 2012, her move to Texas helped Austin achieve a citywide 98% live release rate for cats. Monica then spent years as an instructor for the Maddie’s Fund Lifesaving Academy, teaching shelters best practices and innovative programs, advancing research in shelter medicine, and progressing public policy as a City of Austin Animal Advisory Commissioner.

Monica is a frequent speaker and advisor on creative solutions for every cat, progressive community cat programming, transformative shelter leadership, and creating strategic visions for impactful, sustainable organizations.

Danielle Jo Bays

Senior Analyst, Cat Protection & Policy

The Humane Society of the United States

Danielle Jo Bays is the senior analyst for cat protection and policy at the Humane Society of the United States, with more than 20 years of experience advocating for various animals. Danielle began her journey to professional cat lady by conducting trap-neuter-return in her own backyard. Now she works with animal shelters, cat advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders to broaden support for and increase the impact of community cat programs nationwide. She is a co-author of The Return-to-Field Handbook, which recently won a Muse Medallion from the Cat Writers Association. Just prior to joining the HSUS in 2015, she spent 5 years building a pro-active community cat program in Washington DC and has TNRd more cats than she can count. Danielle holds a B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and a M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. She lives with five cats and a catio in Washington, DC.


Language That Harms Cats
Recorded 08/18/2021  |  30 minutes
Recorded 08/18/2021  |  30 minutes
Certificate - CAWA CE
1.00 CAWA CE credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 CAWA CE credit  |  Certificate available
Have questions or comments about this webcast?
Select the "View Discussion" button to begin.
Select the "View Discussion" button to begin. View resources and continue the discussion with the guest speaker(s) on this thread in Maddie’s Pet Forum