THE NEIGHBORHOOD CAT
The Neighborhood Cat: Our model for Hungry Kitty is to support neighborhoods in caring for cats, where more than one person takes responsibility for the daily feeding and care of cats, and all are working towards increasing spay/neuter rates in our community.
When I bought my house in East Oakland, I was in for a big shock! I had always lived in suburban type neighborhoods where there weren’t many street cats. I struggled to understand what was happening. My questions were, “Where did they all come from, why are there so many kittens and who is feeding them." I have never seen a starving kitten or one with colds, it was heartbreaking to see these new babies struggle so hard to find food and then when they got weaned picking up garbage to eat. Meanwhile, because the mom cat wasn’t spayed, she would be going into heat and would repeat the awful cycle of gestating new kittens.
I HAD TO LEARN WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS AND ALSO LEARN THE SOLUTION
The problem was that no one had been getting cats fixed. Yes, people did sometimes find homes for the kittens when they survived. But by the time, they got one litter of kittens fixed, there was a new litter being born. I learned quickly that I had to get the cats fixed in my neighborhood. With Feral Cats, you have to trap them: I had never heard of humane cat traps, but they do exist and they are great. Did you know that kittens and puppies can start breeding at 4 months. I didn’t know that, so if kittens didn’t get fixed, then they would be babies having babies.
SOME PEOPLE SEE THE PROBLEM BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO REACT, OR HOW TO HELP
We meet people all the time that notice usually after they haven’t got neighborhood cats fixed, that there are a lot of cats and kittens around. There is often a lot of inbreeding too which makes kittens weaker genetically. We often have people ask us to take all the cats and kittens. They say, “I thought that you liked cats,” Yes, we do like cats but we can’t take all the cats into our own neighborhood.
SOLUTION TO CAT OVERPOPULATION
There are neighborhoods all over Oakland that have a lot of cats. People often want to say that there is nothing that they can do about it. They often feel alone. You are not alone, but you have to help. We can offer advice, show you how to trap, set up appointments to get cats fixed. We can offer support and concern, which is a lot to offer. Traps are available for spay and neuter.
THERE ARE ALWAYS PEOPLE IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD THAT LOVE CATS
Neighborhoods have to get organized, realize that if they don’t take action, it will only get worse. There is no time like the present to ACT.
KITTEN SEASON IS COMING
We are already getting emails from people that have started to notice pregnant cats. And some kittens have already been born.
PLEASE IF YOU LOVE CATS HELP FIND A SOLUTION IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
I made an impact in my neighborhood and so can you. Please be active and even if you are very busy, if you talk to neighbors and get organized, you will have results.
Pat Smyklo, Director