LOGAN – It was a big day at the Cache Humane Society on Saturday, with 50 cats scheduled to be spayed or neutered during a Free Feline Fix event.
Cache Humane director Stacey Frisk said the event was a cooperative effort between the local animal shelter and Bridgerland Audubon Society.
“Demand was even higher than we expected,” Frisk explained. “All appointments were full within three hours of our opening online registration for them.
“We can see that Cache Valley cat owners are loving and responsible pet owners, but the cost of spay/neuter operations is an issue for them.”
The goal of the Free Feline Fix event was to support the general health of feline pets in this area and to mitigate the local population of feral cats in the wild, Fisk explained.
The cost of the spay/neuter operations was defrayed by a recent $5,000 fundraising campaign by the Bridgerland Audubon Society. The funds were solicited online, with group officials stressing that the Free Feline Fix event was needed to fill a local service void, “since neither Logan City nor Cache County offer control services for cats.”
“Cats deserve better than to be abandoned to live a harsh life outside without a loving family,” according to Hilary Shughart, the president of the Bridgerland Audubon Society. “The most efficient use of limited funds is for spay/neuter programs like this one, because ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.”
A feral or stray cat is a feline that lives outdoors and generally avoids all human contact. Such animals hide from people and aggressively resist being handled or touched.
While some feral cats occasionally become comfortable with people who regularly feed them, such long-term socialization efforts seldom succeed as the animals tend to remain aloof and be mainly nocturnal.
Although they are usually short-lived due to disease and accidents, feral cats can become apex predators in both urban and forest environments.
Animal experts agree that feral cats are devastating to wildlife and consider them to be one of the worst invasive species on earth.
The national Audubon Society encourages efforts like the Free Feline Fix day at Cache Humane because its officials believe that domestic and feral cats pounce on billions of birds in the continental United States each year.
“Predation by cats is the number-one, direct, human-caused threat to birds in the United States and Canada,” Shughart said. “In the United State alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year.”
National efforts to control or mitigate feral cat populations are widespread. Most animal-right groups advocate trap, neuter and release programs to reduce local colonies of wild cats. Others favor feeding programs leading to socialization as well as the selective capture and adoption of young kittens.
But Shughart believes that the ultimate solution for the feral cat problem in Cache Valley is for “municipalities to take responsibility for the management and control of stray, feral and at-large cats.”
Frisk added that Cache Humane hopes to host more events like Free Feline Fix day in the future.
“The generous sponsorship from Bridgerland Audubon Society allowed us to waive our normal surgical fees on Saturday,” she said. “We will continue to work with their fantastic team and other animal-loving organizations and businesses in the valley.”