Population Control, Not Pest Control

In the second week of February and my second installment of Spay and Neuter Awareness month, I want to talk a little bit about stray cats. Note, that’s stray cats not Stray Cats.

Cats breed amazingly fast. Just one unaltered pair can lead to a colony of 280,000+ cats in seven years. There is debate around this number and mine is a nice round guess from some reading I did on Snopes. A lot of the arguments against the larger numbers published by spay and neuter advocates have their own mathematical issues based on a lack of understanding of reproductive realities of cats.

I am a shelter volunteer and I am a spay and neuter advocate. There are not enough homes to save the surrendered and abandoned cats. Using Animal Control Officers (ACOs) to deal with feral colonies takes resources away from those surrendered and abandoned animals. And although I believe there will always be some level of euthanasia needed in our communities until we all become spay and neuter advocates, the trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs being implemented around the country are a terrific service. Not only are those cats brought in spayed or neutered but they are also vaccinated and their ear is tipped (using a laser) for identification.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Operation Catnip was established in 1997 to offer free and low cost spay and neuter clinics for feral cats. Volunteer veterinarians and vet techs run monthly clinics where 100+ cats can be sterilized in a matter of hours. Other Volunteers bring the cats to the clinics and provide care until they are ready to be released back into their territory. They also take on the responsibility of making sure the colony has food, water, and shelter.

On June 14, 2012 Raleigh put in place a TNR ordinance allowing private citizens to either call animal control to come pick up the stray cats (which would most likely mean their euthanasia after the three day stray hold is up) or contact a non-profit TNR group, like Operation Catnip.

Check out Operation Catnip’s website for more about what they do and how they can help you with that neighborhood stray cat colony.

Spotlight on Diamond

WCAC ID: 97839

This beautiful fawn-brindle stray has been at the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) since Christmastime – what a Christmas that was. Staff estimate her to be around two years old. And she’s been overlooked for the last 51+ days ‘cause she’s a Pittie, she’s a husky 57 lbs., and seems like a lot of dog when you look at her through the bars of her kennel.

Once outside she calms down a lot and really loves her walks with the Fido Fitness crew. And she loves playing in the yard, but she is pretty picky about her canine playmates so she needs a human who really understands proper introductions and patience.

Oh, and NO CATS – ’nuff said!

When all this snow clears out, please stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to visit this girl. In the meantime, check out the WCAC Adoption Gallery for all the great animals (even a rooster) available for adoption. You’ll find a furever family member.

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