It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and I think this photo, of one of our ownerless cats, and these two paragraphs pretty much typify what many residents think regarding the ownerless cats in the city.
There are those that would much rather not see the cats around the streets of Sunny Isles Beach at all, regarding them as mere pests. Not for one moment considering that it is not their fault or choice that they do not have a loving home, or that they perform an extremely valuable service by controlling the rat population, that is the scourge of many cities in South Florida.
Then there are those people that just love to see them and like to care for them. Many of these residents, for one reason or another perhaps cannot have an animal of their own, and truly regard these ownerless cats as their own “outside pets.” Fortunately the city has many such dedicated cat caretakers that fall into the second category that take it upon themselves to look after these cats, and they don’t just feed them which is the easy part. They do a far greater service by trapping the cats, that in many cases have been abandoned by their heartless owners, take them to the Humane Society to have them sterilized and vaccinated against rabies (for which the city reimburses them the cost), and then they return them where they were found and where people feed them regularly. However, since cats multiply at a prolific rate it is rather like shoveling sand against the tide, and it is virtually impossible to keep up.
For this reason the city is always looking for more volunteers for their Cat Program, so if you are one of those people that are referred to in the second paragraph as a caretaker, and are presently just feeding, take the extra step and make sure they are all sterilized too. The city provides training for this purpose and it is so worthwhile and reassuring to know that the cats you are now caring for will remain at just that number, and not all of a sudden explode out of control when the female cats give birth to at least four kittens each, perhaps three times per year.
Even if you are not a colony caretaker, but would like to give back to the city by helping the cats out in some way, and there are many different ways you can make a difference, please contact: Helena Forbes or Desiree Liguori at the Sunny Isles Beach Community Development Division at 305- 792-1705.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. — Mahatma Gandhi