I live in a beautiful private community in NW Florida. 2500 acres of golf courses, beaches, beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. Mixed in with the wildlife are an estimated 200 feral cats. Not part of the natural environment, these cats all came from abandoned and lost pets or pet owners who did not believe in spay and neuter.
These cats faced an uncertain future. In small numbers the cats are tolerated but as their population grows (which it does, exponentially) people become less tolerant. Soon animal control gets involved and many of the cats are trapped and taken to the shelter to be euthanized. The problem with this approach is trappers rarely get a large percentage of the cats and the smart ones are left to live through another season and reproduce.
The solution to this problem takes a humane and home-grown approach. One where the community comes together with volunteers and non-profit groups to find the cats, sterilize them, ensure their health through vaccination, and establish a management program to monitor their status and numbers.
That's what I've been working on.
Though months of trapping and fund raising we've managed to get a lot of money and trap a LOT of cats. 115 to date. We think we have taken care of over half of the population and guess what? The community is starting to take notice! Now community leaders are talking about internally funding the project, creating educational material, in short - accepting the cats as a part of our community.
It's tiring and it's really hard work. There's no money in it and it makes some people really mad. So why do it? The cats did not ask to be out there and it is our fault they are. The cats may not thank us but I know what we do matters. After all, it's not opposable thumbs that make us human, it our compassion for all living things. For more information on this program check out my other blog: Catsightings
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