"Where is that good smell coming from?" "Over there." "Where?" "Over there in that odd-looking box." "You go first." "No, you." "OK, I'll go. I'm so hungry I'll eat anything." "Wait for me—I'm starving too.”
“Uh-oh, what just happened? There's no way out." "Someone’s coming toward us. What'll we do?" "Hiss at her—that usually works."
Not this time... . In steps Jill Franco, who heads our Trap, Neuter and Return Program (TNR, for short). Jill has been trapping our area feral cats for some time now. Once they have been spayed or neutered, they are released back to their caretakers. Those caretakers are usually a select few people in our community who feed the area feral population. We know where the feral colonies are, and Jill and the other volunteers have been spending a lot of time and energy trapping and having the cats receive medical attention and then they are released.
If you know of any stray cats or colonies of cats, please contact our shelter. It is important that we get these cats spayed and neutered before we have an even larger problem. A few people find strays in their back yards and feed them only to call us later to tell us now there are kittens. If we are notified sooner, this cuts down on our kitten population come springtime.
Some of the cats that have been trapped aren't feral at all. We believe their owners may have left them at the colonies thinking this is the best place for them. It is not! Cats that have been born into homes don't know how to survive in the outside world. They need people for their survival.
True feral cats are very afraid of humans but need other cats. A lot of feral cats that stay at our shelter will eventually find homes in neighboring barns. If we are able to catch the very young cats and kittens, there is hope we can rehabilitate them and they will eventually be able to be placed into loving homes.
We have volunteers at our shelter who take these kittens home and give them constant care and attention. It is nothing short of a miracle when we see the transformation when they are brought back to the shelter ready to be adopted. Amazing!
You can help fund our TNR program by a donation or becoming a sponsor of a TNR cat. Check our web site, www.aws-shelter.org, for further information.
It is estimated that approximately 10 million to 20 million pets are destroyed in the United States every year. Of course a lot of this can be avoided by responsible pet ownership. There are lots of organizations that work together developing awareness programs specifically designed to reduce the number of strays and abandoned pets.
It is important for families who are making the decision to get a pet to do their research and consult with reliable sources about the realities of owning a particular animal.
While in Florida, I came upon an organization called United to Prevent Stray and Abandoned Pets. It has developed what it calls its Pet Owner’s Pledge. There are essential elements of a successful pet-human bond embodied in the pledge.
Pet Owner’s Pledge
I recognize that to have a pet to love, enjoy and respect is a privilege.
A pet is a living animal with whom we share the earth, not a "throwaway" item.
My family and I are aware of the daily responsibility, the care needed for the pet and the changes this will make in our lives.
My pet needs a safe shelter, fresh water, proper nutrition, grooming, proper veterinary care and, very importantly, training. I will learn about these and provide them to the best of my ability.
When selecting a pet I will take into consideration the life expectancy, physical characteristics and behavioral differences among the types of pets.
I will properly socialize and train my pet beginning at eight weeks of age or as soon as possible if the pet is older.
I will control my pet's ability to reproduce in order to prevent the cruel overproduction of unwanted animals that will be abandoned and very possibly euthanized.
I will know and obey all laws pertaining to my pet in order to prevent it from being a burden to society and annoying or being dangerous to others.
My pet will be properly identified in the best manner at all times. If my pet becomes lost I will make every effort to find it.
If for any reason I can no longer keep my pet I will not abandon it. I will find it a suitable home, take it to an animal shelter or, if no other choice exists to a veterinarian for assistance.
I will think of the life I am offering a pet and put myself in its place.
AWS is all about helping to produce more knowledgeable and responsible owners who are committed to their pets' well-being. Producing happier pets and happier owners. In doing so, the chance of these animals being abandoned in the future is less likely. We all have to understand that animals are living, breathing, feeling creatures that deserve to be treated as humanely as possible.
Don't be afraid to give us a call with any problems you may have with your animals. We do not judge! We will do everything possible to help with any behavioral or economic problems you may be having regarding caring for your pets.
The best place for your animals is staying in your home with you. Together we can work it out.