Cat overpopulation

One of the biggest, if not the biggest problem facing cats is overpopulation. There are an estimated 1 million stray and feral cats in Central Ohio, and anywhere from 30 million to 90 million nationally.

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Estimates on the number of stray and feral cats across the country range from 30 million to 90 million. Photo credit: Alley Cat Allies.

The most effective way to deal with this issue is spay-neuter. There is no way any shelter can take in this many cats, much less find homes for them all – and the feral cats are not suited for homes anyway.

Studies show that up to 90 percent of owned pet cats have been spayed and neutered. However, as incomes get lower, people are less likely to have their pets altered. At incomes below $35,000 a year, the rates of spay-neuter fall to 51 percent.

That makes low-cost spay-neuter vitally important. It is these unaltered cats that reproduce to cause cat overpopulation. Sometimes they run away or are abandoned, and end up producing litters of kittens that grow up with little to no human contact. This is how the feral cat population gets out of control.

Cat Welfare Association is doing its part to address this important issue. Their Altering Fund provides vouchers for low-income residents to take their cats to participating veterinarians for altering and other basic care such as distemper and rabies vaccines.

Prices are $55 for a neuter and $65 for a spay. This surgery normally costs $100 to $200. This may be the first veterinary care some pet cats get, and may spur their owners to establish a relationship with a veterinarian for further care.

The Altering Fund provides an even bigger discount for caretakers of feral cats. Feral cats are cats living outdoors, often in groups referred to as colonies. They are unsocialized to humans and not suitable as pets. It is vitally important to ensure they are spayed and neutered so this population does not continue to grow. Spay-neuter also reduces nuisance behaviors such as yowling and fighting.

Feral cat caretakers can get cats altered for $10 each plus one $10 application fee. An application and instructions are available on the Cat Welfare website.

Day 3 Swim Report

Number of Laps: 40
Time: 67 minutes
Pace: Average

Feeling more like myself today.  Swam normal speed.  Tired but better overall than yesterday.

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