While most of us love them, an overpopulation of strays and feral cats created a free seminar hosted October 16 by the Octavio Feline Foundation – all to train lay folks how to effectively trap, neuter and return the untamed to an appropriate abode.
The class took place at Miami-Dade Animal Services, 7401 NW 74 Street where guests learned tips and tricks from Silvia M. Valles, President and Founder of the Octavio Feline Foundation, a non-profit organization created to help control cat overpopulation.
Valles lectured on “TNR” (Trap, Neuter, and Return), a program that provides low cost medical care for cat caretakers and educates the public about the importance of spaying/neutering their pets.
“There are several low-cost spay/neuter clinics/programs in our community but not many people are able bring cats in, not because they don’t want to do it but basically because they don’t know how to do it,” said Valles.
Seminar-educated cat lovers were told the step-by-step instructions of a successful TNR, beginning with the trapping of feral cats with humane traps. Captured cats are next taken (in the trap) to a veterinary clinic for sterilization (castration of males, called ‘neutering’) and ovariohysterectomy (removal of ovaries and uterus) of females, called ‘spaying.’
After the procedure, cats are marked so that they can be easily identified as a sterilized feral, usually by cropping the pointed end of the left ear or cutting a notch at the tip or on the side of the ear, instructed Valles, adding that “Outreach is imperative to Trap-Neuter-Return programs being successful. The community needs to know this program is available in order to take advantage of it.”
“Workshops, like the one held by Octavio Feline Foundation, are also a great place to hear concerns from the community and work together to resolve any issues,” said Elizabeth Parowski, Communications Manager for “Alley Cat Allies.”
With events like “National Feral Cat Day” and TNR 101 classes, cat advocates hope to transform and develop communities to protect and improve the lives of cats.