The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) neutered its 50,000th cat on Friday, September 23, 2011, in Portland, Oregon. Helping this landmark number of cats underscores the need for our services, and the tremendous amount of work that remains.
The landmark cat was a 5-month old grey and white kitten from Kelso, Washington, named Oscar. He was born to a stray female cat who appeared outside the caregiver’s home last fall. He and his two siblings were all neutered at the clinic on the 23rd. His mother was spayed by FCCO earlier this summer. The caregivers feed 13 cats and all of them are now spayed/neutered!
In Portland last year, 6,555 cats were euthanized. The number one reason for this? There are simply more cats than available homes. This overpopulation results in abandoned cats, left to fend for themselves and breeding even more homeless cats. FCCO helps end this tragic cycle, giving both the cats and the community a humane and effective solution: Trap-Neuter-Return.
How many kittens have been prevented? If 50,000 cats had just one litter of four kittens each, there would be 200,000 more kittens. This year FCCO will spay/neuter over 5,000 cats. At just one litter of four kittens each, FCCO will prevent 20,000 kittens this year alone.
What do 50,000 cats look like? The average length of a cat, from head to tip of tail, is 30 inches. Line up 50,000 cats and you have 23.7 miles of feline – that’s a furry path from Beaverton, Oregon, all the way to Gresham, Oregon!
Who can help? Anyone feeding feral or outdoor stray cats can bring qualified cats to an FCCO clinic. The number to call for help with feral and stray cats is 503-797-2606 or visit www.feralcats.com for more information.
In June 2008 a neighbor rang my doorbell. She was holding a tiny, hissing, clawing, biting and terrified kitten caught in her garage. She had to wear welding gloves just to handler her.
I had just lost one of my four cats whom I’d had more than 15 years. Two more were in ill health, and my own mother was in the hospital. I didn’t want to take on any more responsibility. But when my neighbor told me that her father would kill the kitten, I had no choice but to give her shelter, at least for the night. We put the kitten in a very large carrier and gave her food and water – she was ravenous! She hunched up as far back into the corner as she could possibly go. I laid on a blanket next to the carrier for about an hour, sometimes speaking to her softly but mostly just being still and quiet. She finally drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, I went to check on the kitten. When I opened the door to refill the food – she bolted. I couldn’t find her, but I could hear her terrified little mews somewhere in my garage. I had to leave for work, but left food, water and fresh litter for her. Throughout the day I made calls to try and find a solution. I didn’t think she was adoptable and feared that if I took her to a shelter she’d be euthanized. I decided that I could have her spayed and let her live outdoors, so at least there wouldn’t be more wild, homeless kitties. When I got home I still couldn’t find her, but heard her every so often. I borrowed a humane trap and within ten minutes of setting it up heard the hungry and scared little girl meowing loudly. She was in the trap.
After getting her spayed I set up a large crate for her in a spare bedroom. I decided I’d give her a week. If I still couldn’t get close to her I would release her and care for her from a distance. A few days into this I let one of my cats approach her. When the little kitten, who I named “Raider,” saw another cat she perked up and started purring very loudly. It was as though a huge weight had been lifted from her. Soon she let me touch her (in exchange for food), and later she would crawl into my lap and purr like crazy. She was still timid, but slowly became part of our household.
That summer was a sad and difficult one. In less than four months three of my four cats and my mother passed away. With so much illness and loss around me it was nice to have this young cat in the house. In the middle of all this, one day I found Raider and my then-16-year-old cat Malcolm cuddled up together. She was grooming him. It was obvious that he needed her, and that she brought something great to both of us.
Raider seemed to be a thriving, robust, healthy young cat. But one day when I came home from work it was Malcolm who came to greet me, not Raider, who was usually first. I looked down the hallway and saw her lying on the floor. As I got closer, I knew she was gone. She looked as though she’d just found a sunny spot on the floor and went to sleep. I was absolutely hysterical and heartbroken.
She had shown absolutely no indication of being sick. In fact, we’d played with toys together before I left for work that morning. A necropsy at my vet’s revealed nothing wrong with her organs; his opinion was that it was something neurological and probably nothing I could have anticipated. She was a little over two years old.
If I had known on that first night how things would turn out, that I would invest an incredible amount of time, patience and love into this beautiful little cat and that just when she really learned to trust me and blossomed into a smart, funny, loving girl, I would lose her after only two years… I still would have taken her in. She was an incredible cat, and she brought me a great amount of joy. She took care of Malcolm and brought a good energy to our home at a time when all we had was loss and sadness. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
In the past few years the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon has worked hard to increase our ability to help more cats. Now we are focusing on outreach to get the word out to caregivers to bring the cats they feed to our spay/neuter clinics.
Celebrate Independence Spay!
For the entire month of July all qualified feral and stray cats will be spayed/neutered for FREE at our Portland clinic – giving caregivers and cats the freedom from the burden of future litters of kittens!
The Independence Spay special only applies to residents of Multnomah, Clark, Clackamas and Washington counties at Portland clinics in July.
Outreach and education will continue throughout the summer with many information booths at farmers' markets, street fairs and festivals.
March 10, 2011: We spayed our 47,000th cat today! It was a great reminder of how many cats we've helped, but also of how many need help. It is the beginning of "Kitten Season" now, which means that cats are going into heat and, if they aren't spayed or neutered, are repeating the reproduction cycle. By the summer, unspayed females will give birth to litters of four to seven kittens on the streets creating exponential numbers of cats destined to suffer needlessly. The female kittens, at as young as five months old, can get pregnant and repeat the cycle, creating even more homeless kittens.
Trap-Neuter-Return is the only solution. The Feral Cat Coalition is holding up to three spay/neuter clinics a week hoping to stop the breeding cycle. As quickly as cats reproduce, your help to get just one cat spayed/neutered can make a huge impact.
Thank you for caring about feral and stray cats.
In October the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon helped our 45,000th cat. This is significant however, sadly, less than 1 in 5 people who feed feral and stray cats know about trap-neuter-return programs like ours. We still have a lot more work to do.
In the coming year, we plan to spay/neuter 6,500 feral cats – 1,000 more than last year – but we can’t do it without your support.
To make your donation go even further, we have a $20,000 challenge match. Our friends at Universal Cycles will match dollar for dollar every gift made by year-end up to $20,000! Please give as generously as you can so that this year’s kittens don’t become next year’s parents.
Remember, with each gift with a notation of "Universal Cycles Match" your donation can be doubled!
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