Graduate’s cat rescue program protects animals around the world
Becky Robinson (M.P.A. ’85) is a true friend to felines. In 1990, she founded Alley Cat Allies, an organization that advocates for the humane treatment of cats. It’s the only one of its kind, nationwide.
Protecting cats is a calling that goes back to Robinson’s childhood, when her family launched the humane society in her hometown of McPherson, Kan.
“My childhood was spent with animals of all kinds,” she says. “I was raised to be deeply concerned with the well-being of companion animals and wildlife.”
Robinson’s family rehabilitated injured animals and fostered dozens of stray cats of dogs. What she didn’t realize, however, was how many millions of cats needed help across the country. These “community cats” often live on the streets, occasionally receiving food or care from neighbors.
When Robinson happened upon a colony of alley cats in Washington, D.C., she learned many of them were killed when taken to shelters.
“Once I saw the cats … I could not look away.”
Robinson learned about a program in the United Kingdom called “Trap-Neuter-Return,” in which the government humanely captures cats, spays or neuters them, gives them vaccinations and returns them to their outdoor homes.
The U.S. didn’t have a similar program, so Robinson started her own.
She recruited veterinarians, launched a spay-neuter clinic, and helped veterinarians identify feral cats before returning them to their colonies. Robinson says her master’s degree from UMKC helped her gain support.
“Everything I heard about running a nonprofit organization during the M.P.A. program became my responsibility,” she says. “I tapped into a network of people whose compassion and dedication paved the way to organizing entire communities of people into a movement to protect cats.”
This article originally appeared in the special edition of the UMKC Perspectives alumni magazine. To read more stories of alumni from across the country, click here.