Due to cats not getting neutered or spayed the population is continuing to grow. This would be fine if they all had safe, loving homes. Unfortunately, they don’t, and many cats end up homeless (also called feral cats). These homeless cats aren’t getting spayed or neutered, and thus the vicious circle continues. With some space, love, supplies, and time you can help foster these cats and a local no kill cat shelter.
No Kill Cat Shelters
No one wants to see cats euthanized simply because they were born and there’s no room for them. That’s where no-kill cat shelters come in. They do not euthanize cats just because there is no room for them. However, that doesn’t mean that these shelters don’t get inundated with cats with nowhere else to go. They will take the cats in, take care of them, have them see a vet, and work to get them adopted out to a good home. No kill cat shelters do run out of room, and are almost always over the max capacity. So, they use foster homes to help them care for the cats without having to euthanize them. People like you who love cats will care for them until they find a good home.
A good example of the need for more assistance for no kill shelters can be found in the city of Indianapolis. There the Humane Society does euthanize but there is a no kill shelter on the south side of the city. At any given moment in time there could be 40-50 cats and no empty space in the cat room. Foster homes are desperately needed to handle the overflow so that the cats do not go to the Humane Society and get euthanized.
Volunteers and Foster Homes For Cats
If you want to be a foster home for shelter cats you’ll need to contact your local no kill cat shelter and fill out an application. You will go through a screening process to ensure you have what it takes to care for several cats and kittens. If you qualify they will have you take care of kittens and cats from the shelter until someone wants to adopt them. Of course, they have to go through a screening process too.
Dr. Jeff Werber, a veterinarian to the stars, say to “Make sure the foster is current on all vaccinations, has been spayed or neutered and is in good health. If you have resident cats, make sure they are also current, that they are spayed or neutered and are in good health, with no evidence of respiratory disease or infection.”
Foster homes eliminate the no-space-must-get-rid-of-cat problem. Some cat shelters will also reimburse you for the cost of caring for the cats. This could include food, dishes, litter, litter boxes, toys, grooming supplies, cat carriers, and even trips to the vet.
Another Solution to the Cat Population
Before there were no kill cat shelters these felines were being unnecessarily killed. Something else is helping the cat population as well. This is the spay and neuter movement. Caring veterinarians, assistants and volunteers go to a certain area and capture homeless cats. They take them back to the vet’s office and spay or neuter them for free. Once the surgery is successful they return them where they found them. This prevents more pregnant felines and an increasing cat population. This is usually called a catch-neuter-release program and they exist throughout the United States. This process is supported by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
Recent studies indicate that it is having some success. A recent North Carolina study found that the feral cat populations where the program was in place saw a consistent reduction of feral cat colonies by 36% in a two year span and about one third of all the colonies in the area became extinct in that same timeframe. Colonies not subjected to catch-neuter-release actually increased by almost 50% in the same timeframe.
This study was done by Julie K. Levy, David W. Gale and Leslie A. Gale and published in JAVMA under the title: “Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap-neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population.” Another program at the University of Texas A&M found that after neutering 123 cats there were no new litters the next year and 20% of the cats trapped turned out to be socialized and were able to be adopted. (Kathy L. Hughes and Margaret R. Slater: “Implementation of a Feral Cat Management Program on a University Campus” published in JAAWS)
Success with No Kill Cat Shelters
A good example of the success that is possible is the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Best Friends is a no kill shelter and through their work and the work of a dedicated coalition they are moving Utah closer to a no kill state. So far they have seen the adoptions go up 39% and euthanasia go down 30%.
Without foster homes for cats, more would be killed every year. So find it in your heart and in your life to be a foster home for cats and a help a no kill cat shelter be able to live up to their lofty goals.
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