Sunday is the 10th Annual Feral Cat day! Have you bought extra grain free BFF canned cat food to leave out for the feral cats in your neighborhood? The annual celebration includes hundreds of events nationwide to improve awareness and the welfare of feral and stray cats. And if you'd like to do more to help the feral kittehs you see on the streets, The Humane Society of the United States is offering scholarships to encourage more New Yorkers to become certified feral cat caretakers. So what's a certified feral cat caretaker?

Thanks for asking. A feral cat caretaker certified with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative is empowered to trap feral cats, help get them spayed or neutered, and then give them shelter or release them if shelter can't be found. The process is called Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and is seen by many as the best strategy for improving the lives of feral cats and reducing their numbers. TNR is not uncontroversial; some say it unnecessarily prolongs the tough lives of feral cats and their colonies, and takes a toll on migratory bird populations. (Migratory bird advocates point out that cats are an invasive species in North America.)

But at least feral cats who are TNRed are spayed or neutered so they can no longer reproduce, and vaccinated against rabies. They're also surgically ear-tipped on one ear (ear-tipping is the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been TNRed). Certified feral cat caretakers qualify for free and low-cost spay/neuter services, equipment, hands-on assistance, and additional advanced training for trap-neuter-return projects. Scholarships are available from The Humane Society while supplies last; you can find out more and apply by emailing info@nycferalcat.org.