Today, October 16, is National Feral Cat Day. This is not really a day of celebration; it's more of a day of scolding and sobering statistics, since the growing phenomenon of feral cats has a lot to do with the human capacity to abandon domesticated animals. Thirty thousand cats are euthanized in Colorado every year -- double the number of dogs -- and that includes legions of feral cats and the unwanted offspring of feral-tame hookups.
Still, there are a few simple steps the everyday animal lover can do to take this day in a more positive direction. Here are five suggestions.
1. Get your cats fixed. Assuming you are smart enough to have already done that, then tell your neighbor with the horny Siamese about the current deal at the Feline Fix, a spay/neuter clinic operated by the Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance. The clinic, already one of the cheapest and busiest in town (they trap-neuter-release a lot of feral cats), is offering half-price surgeries October 16 and 17 in honor of Feral Cat Day. See their website for more details.
2. If you let your cat roam unsupervised because, hey, it's "independent," consider keeping the little tiger indoors or in a contained outdoor play space. There's lots of foxes, coyotes, bad food, feral cats and disease out there. And the neighbor whose flowerbeds are turning into a cat litter box will thank you, or at least not hurt you.
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3. Consider donating a little cash or time to area shelters, which tend to get overloaded with abandoned felines this time of year.
4. If you're in the market for a new feline, skip the breeders and kitten mills. Adopt from those shelters.
5. If you see feral cats in your neighborhood, just opening a can of tuna and putting it in the alley won't really help. Report colonies to the RMACA, Divine Feline, or other groups that practice the trap-neuter-release approach. A call to Animal Control will probably result in no action or a mass euthanization.
And when you're through doing the virtuous thing, stop by the Feline Fix's "grand opening celebration" on Saturday, October 17, from noon until three p.m., at 2600 West Second Avenue, #8. Refreshments, clinic tours, cat goodie bags are promised. Sounds almost like a party.