Mark Your Calendars for Feral Cat Spay Day

Feral Cat Spay Day is exactly one month away from today (May 27)! I am posting now to give fans of this blog the heads up in the hopes that they can urge their veterinarians to participate in the event and help control feral cat communities, or as they are often known, community cats.

The official definition of feral is, “Living in a wild state after domestication.” These cats are also often referred to as “free roaming” because this term embraces lost, abandoned, loosely owned and stray cats, too.

People who carelessly, and often deliberately, abandon domestic pets and leave them to fend for themselves largely bring about the problems of feral cats. It is cruel and unkind to think that any animal that has been in a domestic situation can suddenly fend for itself. And, if the cats have not been spayed or neutered, the colonies quickly multiply.

Five years ago, Alley Cat Rescue president, Louise Holton, launched Feral Cat Spay Day to encourage the veterinary community to participate by offering at least two free (or low cost) surgeries for feral cats.

“The key to our success in reducing the feral cat population lies within the veterinary community,” explains Holton. Trap-neuter-return (TNR) efforts stop the breeding cycle more efficiently than catch and kill. In catch and kill, other strays will enter the vacated territory and start breeding all over again.

“Cat rescue organizations cannot tackle this problem alone; they need the support of the veterinary community,” explains Holton. “By establishing long-term relationships between vets and rescuers, we can help each town’s stray cat population.”

Since the introduction of the event five years ago, more than 800 veterinarians from 45 U.S. states, Canada, and South Africa have sterilized more than 9,000 cats.

If there are feral cat communities where you live, the first goal is to try and get them all spayed and neutered so that their populations will diminish over time.

However, while they exist, they need community help in the form of food and water every day. Since they don’t have “owners,” they rely on the kindness of people to help them survive.

It’s equally important to see that they have shelter especially if you live in a colder climate. You can make a very simple and inexpensive shelter using a plastic storage bin and straw, or you can build something more sturdy and insulated.

By posting about this event now, I am hoping that fans of the Pet Health Central blog will participate by asking their local veterinarians to take part by offering either a free or low-cost surgery.

Feral cats are not often easy to catch. Cat rescue groups have humane traps and often will help you trap, so that they can be spayed, and once fully recovered, returned to where they reside.

Please reach out to your own veterinarian with this blog post.

For more information on Feral Cat Spay Day and how you can get involved, please visit Alley Cat Rescue or email Denise Hilton at dhilton@saveacat.org.

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