FRANKLIN, Tenn., Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- February is Spay & Neuter Awareness Month and this year Mars Petcare and Pet Community Center are joining forces to provide humane care for nearly 2,500 local community cats. Community cats are outdoor, free-roaming cats that have lived near us for more than 10,000 years. They have strong bonds with one another and with their established outdoor homes. With support from community cat programs, they can live full, happy lives in our communities.
Mars Petcare will fund Pet Community Center's Community Cat Program, which focuses on spay and neuter efforts of the community cat population as a critical way to lower the number of cats entering local shelters. The Community Cat Program uses proven tactics such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Return-to-Field (RTF) programs, through which Pet Community Center vaccinates and spays or neuters community cats, returning cats to their home environment once complete.
"Pet Community Center is deeply committed to strengthening the human-animal bond in Middle Tennessee. The Community Cat Program has been an important part of our strategy to lower pet homelessness and shelter euthanasia. We are thrilled to partner with Mars Petcare to expand this program, strengthen our partnership with Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control, support more cat caretakers, and positively impact more cats," said Pet Community Center's President and CEO, Natalie Corwin.
The program was created based on best practices developed by national animal welfare organizations and in consultation with leaders in cities where community cat programs have been successfully implemented.
Mars Petcare and its employees are getting involved through two of its signature volunteer programs – Mars Volunteer Program, an ongoing initiative to encourage Associates to give back to their communities and the Mars Ambassador Program (MAP), which provides in-depth service opportunities for Mars Associates worldwide. This year, a group of Associates from Mars brands around the world will travel to Middle Tennessee to spend time on this project, learning how spay and neuter programs and housing colonies can improve the lives of community cats.
Mars Petcare employees will also volunteer to help build 100 feeding stations and 100 housing shelters throughout the year, which will be distributed in the winter across a network of cat colony caretakers, providing community cats with shelter and relief from the elements.
"Our team is committed to making Nashville a more pet-friendly city as part of our BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program," said Jam Stewart, director of corporate communications for Mars Petcare. "Caring for community cats is one more way we can do that."
Since its inception in 2011, Pet Community Center has served nearly 10,000 community cats, reduced the number of stray cats entering Metro Animal Care and Control (MACC) by 44 percent since 2014 and contributed to the plummeting of euthanasia of cats from 85 percent in 2013 to 19 percent in 2016.
In efforts to further the positive change in Nashville, Mayor Barry established an ad-hoc animal welfare advisory committee that has been working over the last year to develop a metro-wide strategy around animal welfare. Through the Mayor's Public Investment Plan in 2016, the community cat program, a partnership between Pet Community Center and MACC was allocated $100,000 of city funding.
"Animal welfare is a quality of life issue, and one that's deeply important to Nashville residents," said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. "By working together to care for and protect the most vulnerable animals, we're heading down a path that will allow us to better serve the healthy and adoptable pets and reduce animal overpopulation and euthanasia."
About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare is the world's leading pet nutrition and health care business. A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® is the vision statement held by Mars Petcare as we believe that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. In the United States, Mars Petcare food brands include PEDIGREE®, IAMS®, ROYAL CANIN®, GREENIES®, CESAR®, NUTRO® and SHEBA®. Veterinary practices include BANFIELD® and BLUE PEARL®. Specialty brands include WISDOM PANEL® Canine DNA Tests and WHISTLE® GPS Pet Tracker. The company's WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing. Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide. For more information about Mars Petcare's vision: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®, visit https://www.facebook.com/ABetterWorldforPets.
About Pet Community Center
Pet Community Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the human-animal bond through accessible veterinary care & support services. We offer low-cost and free spay and neuter services at our East Nashville clinic, as well as pet wellness services through our mobile clinic. Our programs are reaching the most at-risk pets in the Nashville area, improving the quality of life for underserved pets and people. Since October 2011 we have served more than 30,000 dogs and cats. Pet Community Center programs are strategically designed to decrease animal shelter intake as well as euthanasia rates in Middle Tennessee.
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SOURCE Mars Petcare US