As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent March 4th at the Vertebrate Pest Conference, attending its half-day Feral Cats session. Having made the trip to Monterey, I wasn’t about to return home without a visit to the San Francisco SPCA—to, at last, meet in person some diehard Vox Felina supporters I knew, for the most part, only via e-mail and Facebook.
More than a week later, my head is still spinning—inspired by the dedication of their staff and volunteers, and filled with creative ideas for possible future collaborations.
Community Cats Program and Resources
Last year alone, SF SPCA’s Community Cats Program provided sterilization, vaccination, and flea treatment for 1,325 of the city’s stray, abandoned, and feral cats—all at no cost to the caretakers. (Their efforts are beautifully documented in this video, created for National Feral Cat Day 2010.)
In addition, the SF SPCA has compiled a wealth of useful information on the organization’s website, including, for example, tips on humane trapping and resolving cat-related conflicts with neighbors.
(This, by the way, is in addition to the extensive collection of cat behavior resources available on the SF SPCA website, and their Cat Behavior Email Hotline, available to their adopters who “need help with cat-to-cat aggression, litter box usage, rough play or socialization.” SF SPCA even offers a Cat Claw Clipping Clinic.)
Much of SF SPCA’s most important work actually takes place beyond its Mission District campus, in various forms of community outreach. This includes “investing in the next generation of pet guardians and animal advocates,” as education is integral to the organization’s Vision 2020 initiative.
And it’s an investment that’s already paying dividends, as evidenced by the Feral Cat Haiku project, the colorful, charming creations of local school kids following a recent SF SPCA visit.
My photos (the poor quality of which I blame on a burrito-induced food coma) obviously don’t do the work justice. I’ll do better on my next visit—which I’m already looking forward to.