Friends of Albion’s Animals began as a small group of concerned citizens as a response to the cities feral cat ordinance. The group follows the highly successful Trap/Neuter/Release practice first brought to the United States from the United Kingdom by Ally Cat Allies in 1990. The method is a humane and straightforward approach to the feral cat problems in communities around the country. The most famous of these colonies is the famed Boardwalk Cats in Atlantic City.
In this program, feral or stray cats are trapped and taken to the veterinarian to neutered and vaccinated. After surgery, healthy cats are released back into the environment in which they were caught. Unhealthy cats are euthanized if needed or placed into a rescue that can get them healthy and then released into a safe environment.
The cats receive an ear tip to designate them as a fixed feral.
In some cases, cats can be rehabilitated and placed for adoption. If a cat cannot be released to their original environment efforts are made to move them to a new colony. Cats in colonies have a caretaker who feeds them and keeps an eye on them for health checks.
A common misconception is that by removing the cats, you merely get rid of the problem. This creates a vacuum effect in which other cats who not neutered or vaccinated move into the area and the problem starts all over…an non-spayed female cat can have 3-7 kittens in one litter beginning at five months old. She can have up to three litters in one year. If she has two female kittens per litter…well, that certainly adds up.
To put this kitten issue into a real-world context; a member of Friends of Albion’s Animals had a pregnant cat that found her way to the colony that she managed. Before being caught that cat had 21 kittens in one season. Happily, all of the kittens were placed for adoption and went to very good homes while the Mamma-Cat was finally caught and spayed. Imagine the population boom in town if they hadn’t been found, fixed and adopted!
Mamma-Cat herself was taken by her caretaker and is now a happy house cat. But this could have ended in a huge debacle for the community!
It is essential to understand that not every free-roaming cat is feral. Many are house cats who were dumped by their owners. They’re scared, bewildered and don’t understand what happened. They will lash out in fear or if they still trust people will run to them for help.
Friends of Albion’s Animals offers a low-cost spay/neuter program provided through one of our partner rescues for lower-income community members. Often times people just can’t afford the cost of having a pet cat fixed and the cycle repeats. Cats get abandoned in various places around town and the cycle continues. For help with getting your cat fixed, you can contact the group via their Facebook page.
In their first year, FoAA spayed/neutered 15 cats. In 2018 it was over 150! Not bad for a group run entirely on donations!
Ultimately we need to work together to control the feral cat population in Albion. This is a community made problem and it takes everyone working together to solve it. Please consider making a donation to FoAA for their spay/neuter program! Food, litter, and cash are in much demand especially as kitten season begins!
Donation jars are set up in Parks Drugs and Yesterday’s News downtown. Cash donations can also be made at both of our local veterinary hospitals.
Friends of Albion’s Animals meets the third Saturday of every month at Biggby. All community members are welcome to attend.
For more information check out the group Facebook Page!