The Morning Blend


Kitten Season in Southern Arizona: HSSA's Community Cat Program Making a Difference

Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-12 19:49:46-04

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Spring has sprung in Southern Arizona, and with it comes "kitten season," a time when the number of homeless cats explodes. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) steps up to the challenge with its life-saving Community Cat Program, keeping outdoor cat populations under control and ensuring their well-being.

Trap, Neuter, Return: A Humane Solution

The cornerstone of the program is Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR). Community cats are humanely trapped and brought to HSSA's clinic. There, they receive a thorough examination, vaccines, wound care, treatment of parasites, and spaying or neutering to prevent reproduction, and an ear-tip – a universal sign that a cat has been through TNR. After a brief recovery, they're returned back to their familiar territory.

This approach offers several benefits. By preventing reproduction, TNR controls cat populations humanely, reducing the strain on shelters and the risk of euthanasia. Research by the national Humane Society supports this, demonstrating TNR's effectiveness in decreasing cat populations, shelter intake and nuisance behaviors.

Making a Measurable Impact

HSSA's Community Cat Program doesn't just talk the talk, it walks the walk. The dedicated team tackles large colonies, often exceeding 50 cats, in underserved neighborhoods. In 2023 alone, they performed TNR on a staggering 2,796 cats – nearly matching the number of cats adopted into loving homes that year.

The program goes beyond spaying and neutering. HSSA staff and volunteers provide cat caregivers with essential supplies and assist with site clean-up, ensuring a fresh start for the released cats.

How You Can Help

If you see stray or unapproachable cats in your neighborhood, you can become part of the solution. Many clinics offer TNR programs, and you can borrow humane traps to capture the cats for free sterilization and release. Alternatively, contact HSSA to report a colony – their experienced volunteers can assist with trapping and transportation.

Finding stray kittens requires a different approach. Their best chance of survival is with their mother. Watch for signs of her presence (fresh food, returning to the nest). If you don't see her and the kittens seem cold or sick, contact a rescue organization. Healthy kittens left with their mother should be monitored until they're a month old when socialization can begin. If you can't approach them, wait until they're eight weeks old for TNR.

Be Part of the Change

Kitten season can seem overwhelming, but there are numerous ways to contribute. Foster homes are crucial, providing temporary care for kittens as they grow strong enough for adoption. Consider opening your heart and home to a furry friend! Alternatively, adopt a cat from HSSA.

Financial and material support are equally valuable. HSSA welcomes donations to help them care for Tucson's cats and kittens. Check out their Amazon Wish List for a list of needed supplies.

By working together, we can ensure a humane and sustainable future for Southern Arizona's cat population. So, whether you become a foster parent, adopt a loving companion, or donate resources, you can make a difference with HSSA's Community Cat Program.

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