Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Need a #GivingTuesday idea? How about cat overpopulation prevention?

Most of us who love cats already have cats. (In fact, most of us have more than one cat. That's sort of the way it works.) It's hard for us to add yet more of these furry creatures into our homes, since our resident cats probably won't appreciate the added company.

But that doesn't mean we can't band together and make things better for our feline friends. And so-called #GivingTuesday gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Today is the day that's been set aside for charitable contributions. We're all asked to dig deep and donate to the organizations that do work we believe in (and if that organization meets certain guidelines, that donation is tax-deductible).

Supporting local spay-and-neuter programs could be ideal on this day. 

Feral spay-and-neuter programs can have a dramatic impact on the number of homeless cats within a specific area. All of the cats in a feral colony are trapped, neutered, vaccinated, tagged and released. They continue to live in the areas in which they've become accustomed, and their ear tags keep them from future surgeries, but they can't bear any more kitties.

When communities unveil programs like this, the results can be pretty remarkable. In the Portland area, for example, shelters have reduced euthanasia rates in cats by 76 percent (wow!) due, in part, to an aggressive spay-and-neuter program. (More info about that here.) That means more adoptable cats are leaving the shelters and working with new families, and that means fewer ferals are living their short lives on the streets.

Adoptable kitty in Salem shows off his ear tag.
I've been volunteering with my local humane society for about 6 months, and during that time, I've seen many adoptable cats languish at the shelter for months and months, simply because there are too many cats and not enough homes.

It's tempting to just whisk them away to my home, just to get them out of the shelter. 

But wouldn't it be great if adoptable, sweet, healthy cats like this just flew out of the shelter, because there were too many homes and not enough cats?

Donations might make that happen.

My local shelter is holding a #GivingMewsday today, and is actively seeking out donations to cover spay-and-neuter surgeries for feral cats in my community. Any donations are welcome. And if you're not in Oregon, consider donating to your own cat coalition on this giving day.

The cats will thank you.

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