There is a great deal of work that remains to be done for animal rights. Caring for animals goes far beyond medical practices and proper pet care. Most people are unaware of just how extensive the problems facing street animals are. For street cats, this lack of awareness is a dangerous thing.
Feral street cats are not socialized to human interaction. In large cities like Austin, Texas, there are hundreds of these cats who roam the streets without the guarantee of food or shelter. The large number of feral cats is due to several factors. Many people simply drop off unwanted cats in public places, assuming that others will step up and care for them. When nobody does, these cats are left on their own. Further, without being spayed or neutered, their population continues to rise.
Even among those who are aware of the issue of street cats, many do not understand how best to help them. Some people believe that any cat can simply be brought to a shelter and taken home. However, untrained interaction can be harmful to the cats, as they may become aggressive or scared and run into traffic.
Street Cat Rescue
While Austin has an issue with street cats, there are organizations dedicated to helping these animals. One such organization is Street Cat Rescue, which was founded by Donna Powell over a decade ago.
This organization focuses on safely trapping stray cats, neutering them, and providing plenty of food. Under the care of Street Cat Rescue, feral cats can more than triple their expected lifespans. Feral colonies have a particular set of needs that require a great deal of training and experience to address.
There are roughly 50 feral cats in the care of this organization. While some are eventually suitable for adoption, the vast majority simply live out their lives with better care and food supply than they would normally find on the street. In a fenced-in enclosure located behind Donna’s house, the cats are able to live happy and healthy lives.
There have been many cases of cats that are in dire circumstances when rescued, such as injuries or malnutrition, who are able to make full recovery with the assistance of Street Cat Rescue. The organization even has its own mascot, Arthur. He is a gorgeous Maine Coon who was once not only unhealthy, but almost impossible to identify as a cat. With a terrible case of mange, his fur had nearly all fallen off. With the help of Street Cat Rescue, he is now a healthy and beautiful cat.
Knowledge is Power
The main issue faced by street cats is not maliciousness; it is ignorance. Attempting to help feral cats without training and experience can be dangerous both for the individual and the cat. Organizations like Street Cat Rescue are able to provide services for the feral cats of Austin because they understand the specific needs of street cats.
Hopefully, feral cats will one day be offered all the help and resources needed to ensure their health and happiness. Ultimately, the key to helping these animals is being informed about their needs and the organizations that exist to address them.