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Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

COMMUNITY CATS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Best Friends Animal Society celebrates National Feral Cat Day, Oct. 16, 2009.

Best Friends Animal Society encourages people to use National Feral Cat Day on October 16 as an opportunity to learn how they can be part of the solution to make life better for homeless cats.

Started in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies, National Feral Cat Day has become “an effective way to highlight the issue of overpopulation of feral and stray cats, and the humane approaches to helping them,” said Shelly Kotter, Focus on Felines campaign specialist for Best Friends Animal Society.

Kotter explained that Best Friends Animal Society believes that the needs of free-roaming cats and the issues surrounding them — which exist in every community — are best encapsulated in the term “community cats.”

“There is no one description that fits all free-roaming cats,” Kotter added. “These homeless cats are the result of a failure in the community — unneutered housecats that wandered away from home, cats abandoned when the family moved, or cats that have never been socialized to people in the first place. None of these cats would be on the streets if people had spayed or neutered their pets and kept their cats safe.”

Kotter outlined some simple steps to help homeless cats. “You can get involved as much, or as little as your schedule and budget permit. Don’t underestimate what seems like a small contribution to the cause, many people doing little things add up to major accomplishments,” she said.

  • If you feed stray cats, spay and neuter them so that the breeding cycle is stopped.
  • Keep your own cats from becoming statistics. Have them live in the home. Get them spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. If you want your cat to have outside experiences, please consider screening-in a porch or patio, building a cattery, investing in special cat fencing, and/or teaching your cat to walk on a harness.
  • Support your local community trap/neuter/return (TNR) groups. Donate — even small amounts add up. Volunteer a couple of hours a month.
  • Become a caregiver for a local cat colony.
  • Foster adoptable kittens or lost housecats rescued during TNR operations.

“Best Friends believes the solutions for these cats rest with the community as well. Through a variety of strategies, people have the power to help the cats lead a humane life as well as reducing the number of cats who are eking out an existence on the streets,” Kotter said.

“We like to think that every day is ‘community cat day.’ We are working with communities across the country on innovative and proactive programs to help lessen the numbers of feral and stray cats euthanized in shelters.

“Through our work, several rural Iowa communities have embraced TNR programs, fostering and re-homing kittens and tame cats rescued from colonies. If the cats are in a place where they are at risk, the people in these towns follow strict relocation protocols to provide the cats a new home,” Kotter said.

And to give thanks to the many local people in southern Utah who help care for community cats, Best Friends is hosting a special appreciation brunch on Saturday, October 17, in honor of National Feral Cat Day. Co-founder and interim CEO, Gregory Castle will be speaking, a tribute movie will be shown, and special awards will be presented to relocation caregivers.

Other successful components of Best Friends’ Focus on Felines program include:

Four Directions Community Cat Program (southern Utah)

This unique program works with more than 38 urban and rural communities in southern Utah. Best Friends’ clinic as well as five veterinary clinics around southern Utah participate in this low cost spay/neuter program. The program has six new relocation colonies that re-home community cats who otherwise would have been euthanized.

FixNation (Los Angeles)
Best Friends works in Los Angeles with FixNation, a nonprofit clinic that cares mainly for feral and stray cats but also operates as a low cost spay/neuter clinic. The first of its kind in the United States, the ground-breaking clinic leads the way as a model for community cat clinics around the country. The clinic works with local groups and individuals to battle cat overpopulation, providing free spay/neuter services for feral and stray cats, as well as shots and health checks. In addition, FixNation and Best Friends work together to lower the shelter euthanasia rates in East Valley, an impoverished area of Los Angeles. The program targets East Valley residents, offering TNR as an alternative to trap and kill. In the first year of the program, estimates are that East Valley shelter cat intake statistics will be reduced by five percent.

First Coast No More Homeless Pets (Jacksonville, Florida)

The killing of community cats has ended in Jacksonville. The Feral Freedom Program is a collaboration between the city of Jacksonville, First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), the Jacksonville Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society. Cats who arrive at the shelter in traps are turned over to FCNMHP to be spayed/neutered, then returned to their original trap location. Other communities are adopting this program as a way to save lives and taxpayer dollars.

No More Homeless Pets in Utah (northern Utah)
No More Homeless Pets in Utah and Best Friends work together with local governments to improve the shelter systems in northern Utah using tax dollars to combat the over population of community cats.

Click this image to see the Best Friends National Feral Cat Day videoHow you can help

  • Click on the image to the right to see the Best Friends National Feral Cat Day video.
  • Listen to Shelly Kotter discuss National Feral Cat Day on this PRWeb podcast.
  • For a listing of special National Feral Cat Day activities, click here.
  • If you are a caregiver in southern Utah and need additional information about the appreciation brunch, or wish to learn more about the Four Directions Community Cat Program, please contact shannonr@bestfriends.org.

By Best Friends staff – Photos by Molly Wald

Posted: Just One More Pet

October 17, 2009 - Posted by | Animal Rescues, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pets, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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