If you've ever heard an un-spayed cat in heat, you know first hand how insistent they can be about wanting to get out there and 'mingle' with their male friends to make more kittens. I've often joked that they'd put on red lipstick and click around in high heels if they could. But, similar to the parent of a human teenager, we adults must intervene from time to time and be mindful of the bigger picture when hormones take over. Fortunately for adopters, most shelters only adopt out already spayed/neutered animals like these currently adoptable cuties:
In the case of feral (wild) cats, implementing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), a method I referenced in last week’s blog, dramatically curbs overpopulation. TNR benefits both the specific cats who are spayed/neutered while ultimately saving thousands, if not millions, of cat’s lives overall.
According to The Stray Cat Alliance website, A single female cat and her offspring can multiply to 420,000 cats in seven years, unless there is human intervention. It is equally important to neuter male cats for obvious reasons. Christie Metropole who runs Stray Cat Alliance says, "Having a feral cat spayed/neutered is one of the most effective and life-saving things a person can do to curb the pet overpopulation crisis -- a crisis that results in a great deal of needless suffering for innocent animals."
Keep in mind that even if you are partial to dogs, keeping cats out of shelters through spay/neuter helps dogs, too, as it creates more room overall to hold animals. The result is that each shelter animal, regardless of species, is more likely to receive more time and resources to find an adoptive home.
If you have stray or feral cats in your neighborhood or a colony of cats that is multiplying near your workplace, please consider getting involved in a humane solution. Sadly, I hear horror stories of businesses or neighborhoods resort to poisoning cats or having an animal control officer trap and remove them to an almost certain death -- all while a more humane and far-reaching solution exists.
TNR is a great way for an animal lover to save lives and help multiple animals at once. It's also a great way to work with others in your community who share your concern for animals in need. Many controlled colonies of cats are maintained by caring individuals who make sure the cats have proper shelter and are fed regularly. Many groups can help out with guidance if you have questions. Alley Cat Allies provides resources nationally and easy ways to connect with others in your area to assist one another.
Cats of all ages have it very tough in public shelters. And sadly feral ones are rarely adopted as they are terrified when caged. If you are interested in helping feral cats that have already been brought to your local shelter, my friend Jane, whom I mentioned last week, offers some great advice on how to do so. What's more, if you're considering an exterminator to manage a rodent overpopulation, remember that a managed colony of feral cats can be a more humane and environmentally friendly way to fend off unwanted visitors while helping many creatures at once.
Cats are truly amazing creatures -- in fact, many of our canine friends have befriended these fellow 4-leggers too! I'm hopeful that as we humans get educated on things like TNR, we can pitch in to help our feline friends whose survival depends on us.
Dr. Pia Salk
For more information on the adoptable cuties in today's photo gallery see links below: