HOW TO BUILD A COALITION
In the community cat movement, we all have one goal in common: To reduce the number of abandoned pet and feral cats over time. Together these cats are referred to as community cats. This is the compassionate and right thing to do.
This goal cannot be achieved by any one person. It takes a team. That is why coalition building is so important. We must all work together to address the community cat issue.
THE TNVR TEAM
Coalitions must be built in several ways. First we use the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR) program. This consists of a person or group that humanely traps the community cat(s). Someone must transport the cat to the clinic where a licensed staff spay/neuter, ear tip and vaccinate the cat. After a safe recovery time, the cat is returned to it’s outside home, if it is feral or not able to be socialized. A caretaker then feeds and waters, provides shelter, and cares for the cats. Rescuers also socialize and adopt out many of these cats. This is the TNVR team.
PARTNERS IN TNVR SUCCESS
A different part of the coalition is needed to provide an environment that allows the TNVR effort to be successful. For this to happen, many different interest groups need to be on board such as the following:
The local governments need to take a humane and forward thinking position. They are charged with providing for the public welfare, and being fiscally responsible in the process. The “V” in TNVR is vaccination, which improves the health of both the cat and the public. When TNVR is implemented instead of trap and kill, it saves money because it costs less to TNVR than to euthanize. This frees up more monies for other much needed public services.
Health department agencies need to be on the TNVR team too. A vaccinated cat is a healthy cat and far less risk to the general public.
Wildlife agencies must recognize that it does not matter how cats came to live outside while the sole root of the problem is people and their irresponsible and callous behavior. These cats deserve to live too. The clear majority of people living in the US are not native here, most are immigrants. No one condones killing THEM do they? Spreading baseless statements on feral cats as the truth has yet to reduce feral cat numbers. Using fear tactics has simply not changed anything.
The last part of this coalition team consists of local animal and protection groups, which include the TNVR team. They represent the humane and compassionate part of this coalition.
All these groups with their varying interests and contributions must work together to improve the situation for all, especially our community cats.
Collaboration is needed to reduce the number of feral, stray and abandoned cats. A team working together for positive results is the only way to successfully address the community cat issue. Will you be part of this team of change?