Alley Cat Rescue Announces Free Feral Cat Spay Day: Helping to Curb Cat Overpopulation

Jan 05, 2010, 14:43 ET from Alley Cat Rescue

MOUNT RAINIER, Md., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On April 27, 2010, Alley Cat Rescue (ACR) will launch Free Feral Cat Spay Day to encourage the veterinary community and individuals to get involved in putting an end to cat homelessness and decreasing euthanasia rates at local shelters.

ACR President and TNR pioneer, Louise Holton, sent out a plea to veterinarians across the U.S., asking them to participate on this important day by offering at least two free spays or neuters of feral cats to the public. Holton says, "We have a 'Perfect Storm' situation in our country with the troubled economy causing many people to lose their homes, causing them to relinquish their pets. Unfortunately, when people find out that shelters may euthanize their animals, they turn to private rescuers; most of them are full to capacity and have to turn people away." In times like these, people go to great measures thinking they are saving their cats. Some people still believe that by letting the cat go, (1) someone else will take him in, or (2) he can "fend for himself." "This is the perfect climate for a perfect storm," says Holton. "Many cats will die on the streets, but others will go on to form or join feral cat colonies and breed unwanted feral kittens."

Out of 80,000 cats, if half are females, and have 2 litters each year (with just 4 kittens surviving in total), in just 5 years we could have 800,000 extra cats on our streets. And that will just be from the initial cats. Then, add all the progeny from the offspring, and you can see the numbers get quite intimidating. However, if 40,000 veterinarians respond to this appeal, 80,000 cats will be fixed, and the success of these free clinics will prevent hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals from being born, which is the first step in the fight against pet overpopulation.

Cat rescue organizations cannot tackle this problem on their own; they need the support of the veterinary community. Our intention is not to place a burden of caring for the country's stray and feral cats on veterinarians, but rather we are hoping that the public will respond to this as well, and a network will be created to help solve this national epidemic. Individuals will build relationships with participating vets, and over time, this will bring more business to the veterinary community. By establishing long-term relationships between vets and rescuers, together we can help the town's stray cat population. Countless animal supporters already volunteer at local shelters and have established long-lasting rapports with vet clinics; and individuals are learning to fund raise for future veterinary care. ACR wants to make it clear that this day is not only meant to help reduce feral cat numbers and assist colony caretakers, but to also help the veterinary community by showing their compassion for animals and by bringing them new clients in the future.

Alley Cat Rescue helped organize a large spay/neuter clinic in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, in the spring of 2007. Holton says, "ACR was contacted by an American working in Mexico who has a passion for animals, and asked if ACR could send help to curb the overpopulation problem; so, we jumped at the opportunity to come over with some vets from the U.S. and our expertise with working with stray animals." This was the first spay/ neuter clinic that Alley Cat Rescue had organized, and the largest of its size in Puerto Vallarta. Vets joined them from all over the U.S.: Dr. Pervaiz Mazoor and Dr. Javaid Manzoor came from Maryland, Dr. Ajaz Alvi came from Chicago, and Dr. Bill Pearce came from Texas. Dr. Pearce was the only vet who had previously participated in spay/neuter clinics in Mexico. When asked why he volunteered at spay/neuter clinics, Dr. Pearce said, "Why do you do this? Because it's the right damn thing to do. And what brings me out? Because I can." Thanks to veterinarians like these, who understand the importance and the impact they can make, 100 animals were sterilized in two days and inspired a monthly spay/neuter clinic in Puerto Vallarta.

By creating this nationally recognized day -- Free Feral Cat Spay Day -- Alley Cat Rescue hopes to strengthen the relationships between clients and veterinarians and the relationship between humans and stray/feral cats. We understand that pet overpopulation is not a simple issue, nor is there a "simple" solution, but if people are willing to help the community and get involved (and individuals are getting involved by practicing TNR), then why not band together and see this project through? A long history has brought us to this current state, and there is no quick fix to the problem. Ultimately, a long-term, humane, management plan needs to be implemented if we are ever to get a handle on CAT OVERPOPULATION.

About Alley Cat Rescue

Alley Cat Rescue is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of all cats: domestic, stray, feral, and wild. We are a no-kill shelter and strongly advocate TNR programs for feral cats. ACR has sterilized over 22,000 in MD and operates an adoption program at a local PETsMART store. ACR has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, and our newsletter has won many awards from the Cat Writers Association. For more information visit our website at www.saveacat.org.

SOURCE Alley Cat Rescue



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