Where My Story Begins…
Saving cats is a very personal mission of mine.
My story begins at work where I visit various house sites in order to complete my duties as a mental health counselor. I spend time with my residents in order to help them lead more independent lifestyles.
One day, one of my residents mentioned how a kitten had stumbled upon to our doorsteps.
“What should we do?” he asked. And to be honest… I didn’t have a response. In fact, I didn’t even believe him at first. It literally felt as if I was in an old Tom & Jerry cartoon!
Yet, as I opened the door and looked down, there he was… a ragged and worn kitten… almost as if he was asking for help.
Feeling at a loss and not knowing what to do, I hastily asked my resident to buy some cat food from the local 99 cent store and we made a shelter out of cardboard box.
I reached out to a friend who mentioned that his mother might be nearby and told me to wait.
It was unfortunate that I had to leave my site and visit other houses… but the kitten stayed in my thoughts throughout the day.
I called various shelters and vet clinics to ask for help… just in case his mother didn’t show. Yet most were at max capacity…
I finally found a shelter that was willing to take an extra kitten if needed! I felt determined to catch the little one and aid in his salvation. I headed straight to my site after work in hopes of catching the kitten.
At this point, I had already named this kitten “Pickles.”
However, not all stories have a happy ending… There was a storm, you see… and by the time I came back… the kitten was gone.
My heart really sank that day.
To this day, I felt as if I could have done something more. This is why I have developed this website. And this is why I heavily endorse organizations such as Neighborhood Cats.
You see… as unfortunate as my story is… this very situation is commonplace. This is our reality.
There is an overpopulation of cats in the wild. Some are feral – cats who were born and raised in the wild. But many are strays – cats who were abandoned, lost their homes or lost their owners.
The number of cats in the wild is so staggering that we really can’t even estimate it. They say that within the United States alone, there is an estimated about 20 to 60 million unowned, free-roaming cats… but how could we ever be certain?
Neighborhood Cats – Dedicated to Cats and Cat Lovers
This is where organizations such as Neighborhood Cats comes in. Neighborhood cats is an organization filled with caring and passionate individuals who truly understand how harsh of a reality it is for some feral cats.
Right in the center of their webpage proudly states their mission:
“To improve the lives of the millions of cats living on our streets and support the compassionate people caring for them.”
It’s unfortunate how the cat population is out of control. There are many homeless cats on the streets and many more are born each year. Sadly enough, there are more cats thrown onto the streets due to negligence, abandon, and cruelty.
Cats also breed at an incredible rate. A female cat could even get pregnant soon after giving birth to a litter. A kitten making factory!
Although the idea of kittens is nice, fluffy, and warm… it’s when you begin to learn about fading kitten syndrome, cat overpopulation, and how kittens have to survive the brutal weather and protect themselves from other cats and predators… you begin to realize that this becomes a serious problem.
Organizations such as Neighborhood Cats have heard the silent pleas and cries of these cats and try their best to help. Their reach is global and they have a clear vision of their “why” and what they want to accomplish.
Neighborhood cats passionately educate others on how to care for cats and the practice of TNR.
So What Is TNR and Why?
What’s TNR you might ask?
TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, and Return. It is the practice of catching cats, neutering/spaying them, and releasing them back into the wild.
Now you might be thinking… “why would you ever want to do that?!”
It’s actually the most humane way to love and care for our feline companions in the wild. By promoting TNR, we are effectively reducing population count and preventing many kittens from dying each winter.
Cats can breed at an alarming rate and by neutering/spaying them, we can effectively prevent the birth of more kittens. By simply clipping the tip of the ear, this universally symbolizes that a cat has been neutered/spayed.
Most cats are even vaccinated, have medical check-ups, and are returned to their outdoor homes only with a slight ache and the feeling of “what just happened to me?!”
After the TNR process is completed, cats are able to resume their normal lives and live to be healthy as feral cats can be. Just bear in mind that trying to survive in the wilderness is hard and the average lifespan of feral cats are just a fraction of cats with loving owners.
To distinguish cats who have undergone the TNR process, one of their ear tips are usually clipped off. This is a universal sign that this cat was already spayed or neutered.
All this information can be found on the Neighborhood Cats website. They also provide a wealth of knowledge and information for those who are interested in caring for cats.
Neighborhood Cats are recognized leaders who work hands-on with the cats. They actively trap cats for TNR, help caretakers learn more about cat behavior, work with animal shelters, teach workshops and launch new programs. All for the benefit of cats and cat lovers!
The Passion And Love Of A Caretaker
The next essential ingredient, and quite possibly the most important, is the caretaker themselves. This could be anyone who has made the choice to nurture and care for another animal.
Many feral cats find it hard to survive out in the wild. However, with proper attention and care, feral cats who are under the care of cat lovers will find themselves able to live as long as any indoor cat.
This is where organizations such as Neighborhood Cats really begin to shine! Much of their work is geared toward training and educating individuals to become proficient caretakers.
Neighborhood cats offer workshops where expert instructors will help guide and educate you on how to start your journey. They will teach you the best practices for TNR and with managing your own feral cats.
You see, when you decide to take care of outdoor cats… it becomes something akin to a long-term relationship. There is a bond created.
Neighborhood Cats offer a variety of resources on their website on how to even start your journey!
They even provide a database where you can log your own feral cat colonies to give you an extra layer of support. This is a community truly focused on improving the wellbeings of all cats and cat lovers.
With the proper guidance, loving care, and the time spent together, feral cats can live a very long time. You will find that what Neighborhood Cats teaches will tremendously aid you with managing your own feral cat colony.
If you have experienced a situation similar to my own story or you just want to help with TNR and cat care, please visit Neighborhood Cats and learn more about their mission and their passion. You can even email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you and your feline companions all the best. Be safe!