October 16, 2017

Global Cat Day 2017

Today is Global Cat Day—a day for people around the world to stand up for policies that protect all cats in their communities. Global Cat Day is taking the place of National Feral Cat Day, which was initiated by Alley Cat Allies, a global engine of change for cats, in 2001. This campaign is racing toward a goal of 100,000 people signing a pledge to support advocacy efforts for all cats, including cats who call the outdoors their home. 

In support this this day, we've compiled videos we took with Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, regarding all her organization has done for feral cats. Learn how you can help—both as a veterinarian and as a member of your community—to protect and care for all cats living outside.
By American Veterinarian Editorial Staff
  


Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, talks about the San Francisco SPCA's Mama from the Streets program—which combines trap-neuter-return for feral mothers with adoption of their kittens.

The program works with animal care and control to educate people not to bring kittens found in their yeard to animal shelters, but instead to call them so both the mother and her kittens are kept together. Last year, the program rescued 47 mothers and 167 kittens.
 

Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, says she encourages those who are already feeding stray cats in their community to be involved in trapping those stray cats.

The people who are feeding cats in their community are the most successful when it comes to trapping stray cats. This is because the cat already has a routine with this person—a specified feeding time each day. This makes it easier to trap train the stray cats and get them to an animal shelter to be spayed or neutered.
 


Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, says that while those who feed stray cats think that feeding is the best thing they can do, it isn't.

While feeding is important for the stray cat population, it is not truly reducing the number of cats in communities. Instead, feeders need to be willing to trap stray and feral cats, or work with those who can help them trap if they are not comfortable with it.
 

Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, explains the ways veterinarians can help their community with their feral cat population. Veterinarians can offer low-cost or free spaying/neutering for feral cats, or even just free basic medical care for feral cats brought into their practice. If veterinarians are capable and can offer these services to community cats, it can make a huge difference to those who are willing to trap-neuter-return. 
 
 

Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, says veterinarians and shelter workers can advise the public about trap-neuter-return programs by getting involved themselves. It's possible for a community to go from zero to TNR program, especially if the veterinary community is willing to step up and meet that challenge.
 
 

Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, explains how the San Francisco SPCA's Mama from the Streets program works. The program got started because people were bringing newborns and young kittens under 6 weeks of age to animal care facilities when those facilities were limited in resources for these kittens. 

Mama from the Streets will try and also trap the feral mother cat along with her kittens, bring them all in to be spayed or netuered, return the mother cat to where she was found, and then adopt out the kittens.
 
 

Audra Farrell, Community Cares supervisor for the San Francisco SPCA, says trap-neuter-return programs vary across the country and even across states. When TNR programs are lacking in a certain area, she has seen a much higher intake at animal shelters and a lower live release rate.
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