PCCC started as a grass-roots network “Philly Ferals” in 2003 when Alley Cat Allies contacted a local cat rescuer about cats in 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 former PSPCA board member, Dr. Claudia Casavecchia (Society Hill Vets) with a project plan.
Luckily there weren’t as many cats as reported. But more importantly, the project was the perfect carpe diem moment to initiate the first low-cost feral cat spay/neuter clinic in Philly using the animal control clinic for the project. 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, trappers and funding from The Spayed Club. In a light bulb, PACCA agreed to host ongoing clinics.
In 2004, Philly Ferals became 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 traps for area groups, and held monthly feral cat summit meetings. The clinics increased in volume and frequency with more people trained to trap, large-scale trapping projects and additional funding thru Best Friends, HSUS and ASPCA. Additional volunteer vets, vet students and techs were wrangled from UPenn vet school leading to the creation of the Penn Shelter Medicine program. A second clinic was created when Philly PAWS split from ACCT. In 2007, ACCT took over full management of the clinic and PCCC started another clinic at PSPCA known as “The Cube” which PSPCA took over in 2014. Along the way, PCCC has also trained and assisted other startup clinics such as the Hundred Cats Foundation, State College, PA.
With an estimated ¼ million street cats in Philadelphia, PCCC continues to serve as resource for stray and feral cat assistance, advice, education and advocacy.