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Shadow Cats TNR: a Little Engine That Could

Shadow Cats TNR is an all-volunteer, home-based rescue that is a Little Engine That Could.

Jean Salvatore heads up an amazing organization that serves the too often forgotten "shadow cats" in the community.

This nonprofit was established in late 2015 as Best Friends in Harford County, Maryland. At that time, there were just 8 people working to help the community cats by providing TNR- Trap, Neuter and Release- while also finding foster and furever homes to felines that could be adopted.

The following year, the volunteer base doubled, and they were able to help over 900 cats; 4 years later, the volunteers were assisting 1800 community cats.

In 2021, this organization changed its name to Shadow Cats TNR (a long story, David vs. Goliath) and expanded the reach beyond a single county, assisting in other parts of Maryland as well as southern Pennsylvania. The organization is now fueled by the efforts of almost 200 volunteers. In addition to helping with the feral communities, Shadow Cats also serve pet owners by arranging low-cost spay/neuter they otherwise could not afford. (Often the cost of such a procedure is more than $500.)

In August 2022 alone, this organization "fixed" 222 cats and kittens. (Doing this drastically reduces the number of unwanted cats and untold misery.)

What has enabled Jean and the others to do so much is the incredible passion and drive of volunteers who won't give up in spite of tremendous obstacles. They work with anyone who can assist them to help the cats. Many are traveling great distances to bring the animals to low-cost clinics and adoptive homes, whether to families or in barns. These animal lovers even get harder-to-adopt cats "jobs" with many finding safe refuge, food and love at a variety of businesses. This is a valuable public service performed on a very thin budget with no governmental funding but using grants, donations, and many small fundraisers.

Every cat that is spayed/neutered, reduces the overpopulation and gives that animal a better, healthier life.

Local high school students studying animal husbandry work with Shadow Cats to gain an understanding and hands-on experience with feral as well as friendly cats and kittens, transferring that knowledge to educate the community. This organization partners with smaller local rescues and shelters in three states to make a greater impact on the feral cat population. Most recently, despite no local government support, Shadow Cats became true partners with the municipal shelter. Because of the massive volunteer efforts of Shadow Cats, the local shelter was able to reduce the number of cats that they took in by more than 20%.

Jean's vision is to help the cats that are suffering, either abandoned or born feral with too many being hungry or ill. The best way to achieve this is by making certain the cats are fixed and getting as many as possible fostered and adopted.

For the upcoming legislative session, Jean together with many of the volunteers as well as animal lovers throughout the state will be lobbying for a bill that helps everyone have access to low cost spay and neuter. Jean is helping craft the legislation to be introduced in the Maryland General Assembly when it convenes in January 2023.

Currently Jean together with the volunteers will be able to get more than 10,000 cats neutered this year.

It's a milestone that was once a dream, with the goal of making the US a "no-kill nation." Shadow Cats is just one of many small, dedicated rescue efforts that prove people can generate fundamental change in their community.

Shadow Cats TNR

Jean and all the volunteers supporting Shadow Cats are tackling issues that exist throughout the country. This is an inspirational group of dedicated people committed to their vision.

The work continues.

Shadow Cats TNR


What can you do with the money you don't spend on Tuesday? Consider supporting organizations like Shadow Cats TNR

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