Monday, June 4, 2012

3 ways to help cats (without bringing one home!)

Eamon and Lucy are in a cat cuddle
Eamon and Lucy in a cat mind meld.
When springtime rolls around and the web is full of desperate pleas for cat homes, I get depressed. I know so many people either don't like cats, or they simply feel indifferent to the plight of the average homeless cat that they see scrounging for food each and every day. I feel tempted to overcompensate and take on more cats, helping as many as I can to help make up for those people who won't help any cats at all.

But we all know where this sort of thinking leads.

Instead, I look for ways to help cats, both in my community and around the world. By funding just a few projects, or making just a few statements, I hope I am helping to improve the lives of cats without becoming a cat hoarder myself.

Here are just three suggestions of things you could do to help cats right now:
  1. Attend a cat fundraiser. If you live in the Portland area, consider coming to the House of Dreams Silent Auction this Saturday. If you live outside of the area, contact your local Humane Society and ask about upcoming events you can attend. You'll meet other animal lovers and help to donate money to animals in need. 
  2. Talk to your neighbors. If your neighbors ask you, each year, to take a kitten from the momma's newest litter, consider opening the door to a conversation about the importance of neutering. It's a tricky subject, I know, but cats can be prolific producers, and in just a few years, your poor neighbor could have hundreds of cats. Start talking about neutering early and often. Leaving a few flyers from low-cost spay programs never hurt, either. 
  3. Donate your money. If you come into a little extra cash, consider donating to a large rescue organization such as Best Friends Animal Society. Large groups like this can sometimes spread the word about humane animal care taking in a way that smaller organizations might never have the time or the funds to do. By adding to an already established campaign, you're making your donation go a little farther to do even more.
If, of course, you do have room in your home for another kitten, I encourage you to take one. Cats are social creatures, and many of them really love to have regular snuggle buddies. I think the picture in this blog makes that point pretty well. A little kitten might be just the thing your older cat needs.

But if your home is full, don't turn a blind eye to the cats in your neighborhood. They still need you, and clearly, there's a lot you can do to help!