Marian’s Dream has worked for over 30 years supporting animal welfare groups and initiatives. Cats have always held a special place in our organization. Today, cats face more challenges than they did a decade ago (just two examples are that cats get far less veterinary care and have been the target of bird advocacy organizations claiming that “billions” of birds are killed every year by cats) – and that’s why they are getting our full attention.
Did you know that 71% of cats in shelters never make it out alive?
That’s why we have created the Cat Action Network, a virtual community for cats; a place where you can take action to help all cats, find resources to help your cat, and for you to take time to celebrate cats.
Over the past several years as the economy has weakened, we’ve seen several indicators that cats are suffering just for being cats.
- Veterinary care for cats is on the decline: 45% have not seen a veterinarian in at least one year.
- The number of cats in homes is down by over 7 million since 2006. We cannot force or push people to love or adopt cats – we can only reduce the numbers of cats to balance with the number of available good homes
- Only 29% of cats are adopted once in the shelter system. Unfortunately, the current thinking of larger organizations is to “solve” this problem by not accepting cats at shelters. At Marian’s Dream, we believe the solution is not to turn cats away, but to reduce the number of litters born. (See our Beat the Heat Program page)
- Cats are being portrayed as environmental enemies; website and publications using questionable statistical models portray cats as decimating bird populations
Cats and humans have been living together for about 10,000 years. Our relationships are complex, complimentary and completely intertwined.
sources: “U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook” 2012, AVMA; “National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy” 1997, National Council on Pet Population
What Veterinarians Are Saying
On the Benefits of Spay / Neuter
“If you walk into your house and find that a faucet has been left running and the basement is flooded, what do you do? Start bailing water – or turn off the faucet??? For us, turning off the faucet is spaying/neutering. We must reduce the source of the unwanted puppies and kittens, dogs, and cats. And we must do that through spay/neuter. Before the cat or dog has even one litter. Because only then will we reduce the numbers pouring into the shelters and onto the streets. Spay before the first heat – and be part of the solution.”
Philip Busby, D.V.M.
Marcia Lane Endowed Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare
Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
Mississippi State University
“As a small animal veterinarian in a rural practice, I frequently encounter pets that have not been spayed or neutered, either because of financial concerns or lack of owner education. Many times the mature intact females will present with mammary tumors, complications related to pregnancy, or potentially life-threatening uterine infections. These conditions create unnecessary pain and suffering for the animal and a large financial burden on the owner. And they are very easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent simply by spaying before five months old.”
Megan Dunn, D.V.M.
“When we take a look at the inevitable damage caused by unintended, unplanned, and unwanted pregnancies when spay is delayed until 6 months or later, we see:
- Greatly increased incidence of mammary gland tumors – they are virtually unheard of when spayed before the first heat
- Undesirable behavior tendencies related to hormonal influences
- Abandonment – millions of homeless kittens and puppies who end up on the streets or in the shelters
“Beating the heat solves so many problems with one simple fix!”
Marvin Mackie, D.V.M. (retired)
THIRTEEN THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP CATS IN YOUR COMMUNITY: PICK ONE AND START!
It could be a poetry contest, photo contest, video, art, or essay contest. Post winners in the library and other local public places with other materials about cats and their welfare.Contact the leaders of Boy or Girl Scouts as well as other youth groups in your community with ideas they can use to help cats in their community.Obtain a copy of the A.S.P.C.A. sponsored video, Throwaways, for your school. Ask the art teacher to take one day for the students to create posters with cats and the clinic phone number to call for spaying/neutering cats in your area. Contact your statewide spay program to find affordable programs and clinics near you.</Keep a lost/found listing for cats; when a cat is found, alert the guardians and give them a cat I.D. order form with the cat. Find a good place in your town for the posting for lost cats – perhaps the town web site, community center, town hall or library.Download materials (our site) for dealing with feral cats, wanted or unwanted. There are humane ways to deter cats as well as ways to manage community cat colonies.Launch a local media campaign about cats using public service announcements, local cat-friendly radio talk show hosts, community cable stations and letters to the editor of the paper.Form a coalition of people who respond to the contests, letters to the editor and radio shows to create humane guidelines for felines in your community.</Let the public know that you are looking for a “Cats Hero of the Year” and encourage them to alert you to people in the community who have helped cats.</Encourage your city or town to draft a resolution encouraging responsibility towards cats. This resolution will be helpful as you promote community involvement.</Encourage your community leaders to keep track of cat calls; if there are many, determine your philosophy about dealing with the calls first, then offer to form a committee to help address the concerns/complaints about cats. There are guidelines for managing colonies available on this site.Ask veterinarians in your community if they would spay cats before their first heat to prevent unwanted litters and mammary gland canerVisit your shelter and see if they have ideas on how you can help the catsCome up with your own ways to help – maybe helping a friend or neighbor who can no longer care for his or her cat, fostering a cat or taking photos of cats for the shelter, Visit your shelter and see if they have ideas on how you can help the cats