HSSA celebrates 'friends of ferals' today | People
The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is celebrating National Feral Cat Day today. They are doing this by spaying and neutering free-roaming felines and recognizing the thousands of compassionate Tucsonans who care for them.
Each week, Monday through Saturday, the HSSA spays and neuters feral cats (those felines who have lived without a home long enough they revert to wild behavior to survive). These ferals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for parasites, ear-tipped (the universal symbol of a sterilized feral cat) and then returned to their outdoor homes.
“Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is the most effective and humane method of managing feral cat colonies,” explains public relations coordinator Sara Gromley in a recent news release, “and we couldn’t do it without the help of our community.”
HSSA also honors those who help with the feral population. One such family spent its entire fall break coming to the aid of feral cats in their neighborhood. Michelle Flores, along with 4-year-old Genysis and 15-year-old Anisah, talked with neighbors about the increasing number of unclaimed cats in the area. Equipped with humane traps, tuna and plenty of patience, this determined trio caught dozens of feral cats and brought them to the HSSA for TNR care.
Flores had never heard of the program before embarking on her mission, but did the research, reached out to the HSSA and educated her neighbors about the benefits of sterilizing cats to prevent more unwanted litters. “It’s the humane, healthy thing to do,” explained Flores, in the same news release. “It’s incredibly rewarding to help animals in need, work together as a community and show Genysis and Anisah compassion in action.”
Flores not only stabilized the booming cat population in her area - she also found a new furry friend. An 8-week-old injured kitten wandered into Michelle’s trap with a ruptured eye and no family to care for him. Once at the HSSA, little Lance underwent surgery to remove his eye and receive life-saving care. Once he was feeling better, the little kitty proved that he was not the least bit feral but rather fond of human affection. Lance needed a special home, because he suffers from feline leukemia - an immunosuppressive disorder that means he needs to be separated from other cats. Flores knew that Lance would be coming home with her and was happy to adopt him.
With nearly 70,000 feral cats in the Tucson area (based on human population and a formula devised by PetSmart Charities), the Humane Society of Southern Arizona encourages animal lovers in the community to Trap-Neuter-Return feral cats. “TNR improves the lives of free-roaming cats, enhances human-cat relations and decreases the alarming number of unwanted animals entering our local shelters,” emphasizes Sara Gromley.
Feral cats can be brought to the HSSA’s clinic between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the Humane Society of Southern Arizona’s Spay & Neuter clinic at (520) 881-0321.