Say you have some feral cats living in your neighborhood. They keep having kittens, who keep having kittens ad infinitum. Lots of these poor kitties will get eaten, or suffer horribly from starvation or disease and die. You'd like to help break that cycle but, who you gonna call? San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition. Or, you can call 311 and they will transfer the call to SAFCC.
The SAFCC holds workshops four times a month about a process called Trap-Neuter-Release or TNR. TNR is scientifically proven to be the best way to handle feral cats. Sherry Derdak, President of the Coalition, says, "Education is paramount. TNR is proven to be effective in managing feral cat colonies. We want to debunk myths about feral cats: 1) If you stop feeding them they won't go away. 2) If you trap and dispose of them, another cat colony will take it's place because cats are territorial and you've created a vacuum." To learn more, attend a workshop or visit the Alley Cat Allies website.
The Coalition volunteers help by
- loaning safe traps
- assisting in the trapping of your feral cats
- making sure the cats get neutered and vaccinated against rabies
- helping release the cats back from whence they came
By the end of the year, SAFCC will have helped approximately 3000 citizens handle their feral cat problems. SAFCC volunteers can also manage feral cat colonies for apartment complexes or campuses. They are also collecting "cat data" to use for tracking the areas that need the most help with feral cats.
Sherry and many other proponents of TNR and the animal No Kill effort are concerned about a proposed revision of the city ordinance in regard to cats. Proposed changes could reverse the current code that allows for free-roaming cats as long as they are vaccinated and sterilized. There has been some discussion of Animal Control Services (ACS) loaning traps and then having citizens take the cats back to ACS for adoption--or as we all know--the possibility of euthanasia. This leaves that 'vacuum' I mentioned, for more cats to just move in. So, guess what? Problem not solved.
Additionally, catching and impounding cats would increase the number of animals euthanized at ACS, and set No Kill efforts back. "The City’s current position on feral cats is arguably the most successful No Kill effort that has been made and proposed changes would set back the good work done with feral cats," Sherry said.
So, happy National Feral Cat Awareness Day on October 16. If you have a problem with cats in your neighborhood, visit SAFCC website for contact information.
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