EWN 19/08: Neutering Is Key
This is my article published in the Euro Weekly News this week. It talks about how important it is to ensure that any stray cats that are being fed are also where possible neutered.
I am wondering this summer when kitten season will ever end, as we are still getting calls about litters, the most recent one pictured. I am consoling myself with the hope that they are not still being born, as the latest ones are some 4 weeks old. One of our young mothers, rescued with her 4 month old kittens, does however look suspiciously pregnant, and is on my urgent list for a vet visit! Once again this highlights the need to try and expand our sterilisation programs.
Here in Almerimar our female port cats are all neutered, but I know there are many stray females out there having litter after litter. I think, because there are less English people here, I am hearing about my local ones less, as most of my phone calls in response to these articles are about cats and kittens in the Mojacar area, where the English population is much bigger. Apart from the nuisance problem of large tribes of stray cats, life for an un-neutered female is extremely hard out on the streets, which is why population control must go hand in hand with feeding.
Yesterday I met up with a number of people to talk about cats that need help, and my overall theme again was that cat lovers need to work with us. The ladies who help me here, like at PAWs Mojacar, are volunteers, and we have limited time and resources. We will always try to help at least with advice, and I do have a great process for re-homing some of the cats, but I think we need to be seen more as facilitators and not the whole answer.
Where there are tribes of stray cats, we need communities to step up and solve this problem with us. A joint plan is needed to catch the cats for neutering, and even with discounts offered by local vets, 40-60 euros is still needed to neuter each cat. We need more contributions from residents in these situations, and more people to actually get involved, including as I am always writing, more people willing to foster the ones that could be re-homed. Then we could make so much more of a difference to the cats and to the communities.
We are overrun with kittens, and one way to avoid this situation next Summer is to neuter more of the stray females over the coming months. So once again I am asking people to not just present us with problems but to please be willing to help us solve them, even if it is just by giving a small donation. Thank you to the kind people who have recently stepped forward, in one case just in time! We need more of you, in particular to save the beautiful family in the photo.
Since I wrote this article, Liz Ursamarine has stepped forward, and this lovely cat and tiny kittens are safe and well.