Group Tends to Free-Roaming Cats

A club dedicated to helping stray cats will soon celebrate National Feral Cat Day Oct. 16th.

Pawswatch (pawswatch.org), a volunteer network in Rhode Island, educates and enlightens the community and each other regarding taking care of free-roaming cats and contributing to the betterment of cat communities.

With several chapters in the state they conduct workshops, educational seminars, and come together in times of disaster. Working with neighbors they research what their local feral cats need and go from there.

Their motto is that the widespread problem of stray cats can only be solved by widespread participation in spay and neuter programs, according to their website.

The organization comes complete with a helpline to talk members through problems they might encounter when helping a feral cat.

It’s common for a tame cat to take up company with some undomesticated outdoor cats on a volunteer’s property. Volunteers tend to want to find homes for the kittens also since they can be socialized at their young age.

Recently a woman noticed a stray Tabby cat hanging out in her backyard. A few months later three kittens were born to the animal. The lady had no idea the cat was even pregnant. Now there are two Tabbies and one black cat that have taken up residence in a little fort they found in someone’s adjacent back yard. The mother cat nurses the kittens and shares her dry food with them and they are often seen lounging in the backyard of the woman’s house on the patio.

In May Pawswatch had their Fifth Annual Benefit to raise money for their group. The staff says the event draws many people and numerous artists donate their talents to the cause, culminating in a live auction at the end of the night.

Pawswatch is now in the process of planning their 2006 Fall Raffle. The group has three chapters under the umbrella of its main chapter – Pawswatch West, South, and Bristol.

National Feral Cat Day is a commemoration of what feral cat givers do for free roaming cats and to educate the public about non-lethal animal control such as spaying and neutering. On the Pawswatch website you can print out needed materials of an action pack and press kit to promote the event in your own community and get people involved. The pack includes a poster, educational items, media guide, and clinic information among other items.

On the database users can locate their state and find out where in their neighborhood, if available, the National Day is being celebrated and who to contact. Some ways other communities have marked the National Day is to have a walkathon to raise money for spaying and neutering costs among other avenues of fundraising.

To volunteer with Pawswatch, call 401-848-9TNR or email cats@pawswatch.org.

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