The rescue of needy cats
A few minutes out of our day can make an enormous difference in the life of a needy animal. These needy animals exist in every town. We can usually see them around stores, restaurants and Dumpsters. These needy animals are stray and feral cats. Some of these cats have been abandoned by their owners, or the cat may have become lost and was never located. Sadly enough, some of these cats have been neglected to the point where they must try to survive on their own. They usually stay in groups or colonies. These cats are considered by some to be dirty pests and nuisances. But consider who and what could have left these cats in this situation. Some of these feral cats started out as family pets. Nevertheless, these cats were once someone’s responsibility, and they continue to need care. They need to be someone’s responsibility.
The Rutland County Humane Society has a program that helps to manage the stray and feral cat population. It’s called the Trap, Spay and Release Program. Volunteers find these colonies and contact the property owner to ask permission to be on their property. Volunteers then begin to feed the cats on a regular basis and build shelters out of old wooden boxes, plastic crates, with bedding, old towels, etc., to protect the cats from the elements. Volunteers then begin to trap the cats in a Havahart trap, as instructed by the Humane Society. As the cats are trapped, they are brought in by the volunteer to a participating veterinary clinic, in my case the Rutland Veterinarian Clinic and Surgical Center, at no cost to the volunteer. It is at that time the veterinarians will determine whether the cat is feral (not able to be adopted out by the Humane Society) or a stray, (an abandoned or lost cat). If it is determined to be a feral, they are then spayed or neutered, given a rabies vaccination and released right back from where they were trapped. This area is where the cats will be fed and the shelters will be placed. If the cats are determined to be strays, the cats are taken from the Veterinary Clinic to the Rutland County Humane Society, where they are able to be adopted.
Since beginning this adventure, a little over a year ago, I have trapped 28 cats, both feral and stray, all from that one colony. The feral cats were spayed or neutered and then released. The stray cats were brought to the Rutland Humane Society and adopted out. Had this colony been ignored, its population would have at least tripled by this time. I have also taken 10 kittens from this colony. These kittens were young enough to be adopted out through the Humane Society.
So, it’s really a win-win situation. The cats, while being fed and provided for, stop reproducing. The remaining cats live out their lives in peace and are not left to scavenge in starvation. In this way, we can go about helping this situation. Any effort we put forth makes a difference.
Looking the other way can be a survival skill. If we don’t see it, it’s not our problem. But, this must become someone’s problem. I find that feeding these cats on my way home from work is just a few minutes out of my life. But it’s life to them.