PCCC started as a grass-roots network “Philly Ferals” in 2003 when Alley Cat Allies contacted a local cat rescuer about the Veteran’s Stadium cats. The stadium in South Philadelphia was due for implosion in March 2004 and the cats needed to be removed. Urban myths about the rats and cats there were legendary with reports of nearly 200 cats inhabiting the stadium. Unable to find a rescue in the city to help, two trappers met with the Phillies, Department of Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Animal Care and Control (PACCA), now ACCT, and PSPCA board member, Dr. Claudia Casavecchia (Society Hill Vets) with a project plan to rescue the cats, whose numbers were greatly exaggerated.
Most importantly, the project was the perfect carpe diem moment to pitch the first low-cost feral cat spay/neuter clinic in Philly using the animal control clinic. With agreement and support from the Department of Health, then PACCA director George Stem, former PSPCA vet director Dr. Ravi Murarka and Dr. Casavecchia, Philly Ferals organized the first clinic with volunteer vets, techs and trappers and funding from The Spayed Club. In a lightbulb moment, PACCA amazingly agreed to host ongoing clinics.
In 2004, Philly Ferals grew to become The Philadelphia Community Cats Council under the now defunct Animal Alliance of Philadelphia. Modeled after the NYC Feral Cat Coalition, PCCC established a city-wide network of trappers, TNRM workshops, a food bank, purchased additional traps for loan, and participated in monthly feral cat summit meetings. The clinics increased in volume and frequency as more people trained to trap and large-scale trapping projects and additional funding thru Best Friends, HSUS and ASPCA. A dear friend, Dr. Robin Valentine, helped to secure additional volunteer vets, vet students and techs from UPenn vet school which led to the creation of the Penn Shelter Medicine program. A second clinic was created when the non-profit Philly PAWS split from ACCT. In 2007, as ACCT took over full management of the clinic there, PCCC started and ran another feral cat clinic at the PSPCA known as “The Cube” which PSPCA took over in 2014. PCCC has also trained and assisted other organizations with startup clinics of their own such as the Hundred Cats Foundation, State College, PA.
With an estimated ¼ to ½ million street cats in Philadelphia, PCCC continues to serve as resource for stray and feral cat assistance, advice, education and advocacy.