A little over a week ago, Mr. Smith sent me the following:
Of course, I immediately said “yes,” despite not checking the link or knowing what I was signing up for. He had me at “pet charity.” I didn’t even care which “Internet-famous cat” we would be getting a picture with because I really am all about caring for our furry friends.
I later found out that we were going to the 2018 Stray Cat Strut. How cool does that sound? The Stray Cat Strut is an annual fundraiser by the Feline Fix. Their mission is to reduce the number of homeless and feral cats in the Denver area through low-cost spay/neutering and a trap-neuter-return program (TNR).
A Quick Run Down of the TNR Debate
PETA (here and here) is generally against TNR because it doesn’t solve the underlying problem of abandoned cats or the problem of colony cats killing area wildlife (i.e., birds) for food. Essentially, PETA sees the issue as saving one animal life at the expense of many other animal lives.
Lohr et al. (2013) studied TNR in Oahu, Hawaii. They found that TNR was expensive and did not reduce the feral cat population.
The ASPCA is generally in favor of TNR as the cats are not euthanized, but they also emphasize the need for cat colonies to be provided with food, shelter, and medical care by a dedicated caretaker. In other words, someone needs to take ownership and responsibility for the colony.
What the research does agree on is that the best way to reduce the feral and stray cat population is to find ways to reduce domestic cat abandonment. I was surprised to learn that the number one reason people abandon their pets is supposedly due to “moving,” but, when one looks deeper, often the real reason is some sort of behavioral issue with the animal. I see our two furkids as full-fledged members of our family. Both of them do things that drive us up the wall sometimes, but we made a lifelong commitment to them when we decided to bring them into our home.
The Event Itself
We had a blast at the charity event. First up was a meet and greet with Lil BUB — the Internet-famous cat. She has a neurological condition, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to raise money to help other cats like her. She is the sweetest little nugget. Maybe I’m just too accustomed to our big boy (18 pounds), Scooter.
After we said our goodbyes, we went on the silent auction. We bid on a few items while sipping on wine from the open bar.
Eventually, we made our way down the tables where small appetizers were passed around and there was more wine. A couple of very interesting people joined us at our table. We met one couple who is retired and loves to travel all over the world. They were similar to us in many ways with concerns about how the environment is treated and about what they put in and on their bodies. Both were very proud of owning two sixteen-year-old vehicles. #lifegoals.
The other ladies at our table were both board members of a local animal legislation activism group. Their organization works to pass legislation that benefits animals of all types. Last year they helped to pass an ordinance in Denver that prohibits declawing cats. It was super cool to meet people who share our values in many ways.
The live auction was an interesting experience as neither of us had done something like that before. There were two experiential items that we were interested in bidding on. We both agreed on an amount not to exceed and went for it. At the end of the night, we won one of the items: A six-day/six-night South African safari! We already had South Africa on our bucket list to visit and this seemed like a win-win since the charity got a donation and we got a trip. Expect more details to come in the future.
All-in-all, it was a fun night where we got to meet an Internet-famous cat and were able to do some good in our local community.