Monday, January 04, 2010

Alley Cat Rescue Announces FREE FERAL CAT SPAY DAY: Helping to Curb Cat Overpopulation

On April 27, 2010, Alley Cat Rescue will launch Free Feral Cat Spay Day to encourage the veterinary community and individuals to get involved in putting an end to cat homelessness and decreasing euthanasia rates at local shelters.

ACR President and TNR pioneer, Louise Holton, sent out a plea to veterinarians across the US, asking them to participate on this important day by offering at least two free spays or neuters of feral cats to the public. Holton says, “We have a ‘Perfect Storm’ brewing in our country with the troubled economy causing many people to lose their homes, causing them to relinquish their pets. Unfortunately, when people find out that shelters may euthanize their animals, they turn to private rescuers; most of them are full to capacity and have to turn people away.”

In times like these, people go to great measures to “save” their cats. Countless people naively think a cat can “fend for himself,” so they put him on the streets or drop him off in the country. “This is the perfect climate for a perfect storm,” says Holton. “Many cats will die on the streets, but others will go on to form or join feral cat colonies and breed unwanted feral kittens.”

Out of 80,000 cats, if half are females, and have 2 litters each year (with just 4 kittens surviving in total), in just 5 years we could have 800,000 extra cats on our streets. And that will just be from the initial cats. Then, add all the progeny from the offspring, and you can see the numbers get quite intimidating. However, if 40,000 veterinarians respond to this appeal, 80,000 cats will be fixed, and the success of these free clinics will prevent hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals from being born; which is the first step in the fight against pet overpopulation.

Cat rescue organizations cannot tackle this problem on their own; they need the support of the veterinary community. Our intention is not to place a burden of caring for the country’s stray and feral cats on veterinarians, but rather we are hoping that the public will respond to this as well, and a network will be created to help solve this national epidemic. Individuals will build relationships with participating vets, and over time, this will bring more business to the veterinary community. By establishing long-term relationships between vets and rescuers, together they can help their town’s stray cat population. Countless animal supporters already volunteer at local shelters and have established long-lasting rapports with vet clinics; and, individuals are learning to fund raise for future veterinary care. ACR wants to make it clear, that this day is not only meant to help reduce feral cat numbers and assist colony caretakers, but to also help the veterinary community, by showing their compassion for animals and by bringing them new clients in the future.

By creating this nationally recognized day—Free Feral Cat Spay Day—Alley Cat Rescue hopes to strengthen the relationships between clients and veterinarians and the relationship between humans and stray/feral cats. We understand that pet overpopulation is not a simple issue nor is there a "simple" solution, but if people are willing to help the community and get involved (and individuals are getting involved by practicing TNR), then why not ban together and see this project through? A long history has brought us to this current state, and there is no quick fix to the problem. Ultimately, a long-term, humane, management plan needs to be implemented, if we are ever to get a handle on CAT OVERPOPULATION.

For more information on this campaign or to get your veterinarian involved on Free Feral Cat Spay Day, please contact us! If you are unable to participate at this time, but would like to contribute to our FFCSD fund, please send your donation to Alley Cat Rescue PO Box 585, Mt. Rainier, MD 20712.


Nicki said...

This is great! I hope lots of clinics participate. I just wish it was earlier than April - and more in the winter BEFORE kitten season begins. April last year is when a feral cat in my neighborhood chose my back yard to have her kittens.

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Thanks for the support Nicki! So far we have over 80 vet clinics participating on Free Feral Cat Spay Day. With more coming in every day!

We chose April because, HSUS has Spay Day in February, in which we participate, and because we didn't want to do it too close to winter. Winter conditions make trapping difficult and it can be dangerous for the cats. You do not want them left in traps for very long, because they could freeze. Plus, you do not want a cat recovering from surgery in such frigid temperatures.

But we also understand your concern. Sadly, kitten season gets longer and longer ever year!