April 27th is National Free Spay Feral Cats Day. This topic is definitely something that is near and dear to our hearts. The awareness day was created to raise awareness about not just why spaying feral cats is important, but also to offer advice on how to help. A Bucks County, PA vet offers some insight on this below.
Pet overpopulation is a huge animal welfare concern. Although it’s impossible to get an exact count, estimates of the homeless cat population here in the US range from to 50 and 70 million. However, that number could actually be as high as 100 million. There is some good news here: the numbers have been dropping since TNR practices first became widespread a few decades ago. Things could turn around very quickly, though. A single pair of kitties can have as many as 11,606, 077 descendants in just nine years.
Trap/Neuter/Release programs, as the name suggests, focus on curbing pet overpopulation not by bringing kitties to shelters, but by preventing unwanted litters. Though different programs all work a bit differently, the general MO is the same. First, the stray cats are trapped, usually by setting tempting-smelling food out in humane cages. Fluffy is then brought to a veterinary facility or shelter for the procedure. It’s common practice to notch the ears of fixed feral cats at this time, to make identifying them easier. The shelter or volunteer will keep the cat confined for a few days, providing food, shelter, and water as they heal. Once she’s past the critical healing stage, she’ll be released.
Feral cat overpopulation may seem like an insurmountable problem, but there are many people out there helping, and their efforts are making a difference. We also do everything we can to help out. If you’re interested in learning more, you may want to watch the Crazy Cat Lady documentary, which follows a group of kindhearted folks trying to help homeless cats in Los Angeles. If you have the time and energy, consider checking with local organizations and asking about volunteering. However, you can also help just by supporting TNR efforts and organizations, whether through monetary donations, dropping off supplies, fostering kittens, or even just by spreading the word on social media.
Do you have questions about spay/neuter surgery? Contact us, your Bucks County, PA animal clinic, today!