Wednesday, October 17, 2012

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National Feral Cat Day 2012

Today is National Feral Cat Day and I am celebrating! Five years ago as I began every day of every week of every month  feeding a lonely feral cat named Toby, I could not have imagined that today I would be part of feeding over 50 cats on a daily basis, having helped numerous communities set up managed feral colonies, having spoken to five city councils asking for the freedom to let this method have a chance to work; having medically served over 170 cats and kittens  and spayed and neutered over 130 outdoor feral or community cats.   Western Iowa Feral and Homeless Cat Program (WIFCaP) started because two women sat together and worried about an outdoor cat named Toby, and knowing that there must be more like him that needed help..  After much research and study we agreed,  the only solution would be to start a TNR program.  The next step, how???

Not wanting to go into all the finite details of how it all came together, it suffices to say, I decided to dive in head first. alone and pretty much by myself to say " I'm committed, I'm ready and I will do what has to be done to change things."  When I found out that I couldn't get grants unless we were a 501c3 I dug and whined and figured out how to get that done.  I did it!  And it didn't cost WIFCaP, taxpayers, donors, or me a cent!

So along with several of my best friends and my sister along for the ride,  we are incorporated in the state of Iowa and we have been granted our 501c3 tax status , which means our donors can use their donations as a tax deductible expense.  We have been inspected and have passed that inspection to receive our Iowa Animal Shelter License.

We have met all the requirements of the state and the IRS  to do what we need to do to help the helpless or homeless feral and homeless cats in Western Iowa.  We do that for the legalistic reasons only.

 If you could see our hearts, none of that matters.  What matters are the huge numbers of cats that have been left to their own devices.  What matters is there are abandoned and left behind cats and kittens that have no where to go. Our passion is to manage colonies and supply food and water so that they can survive the only way they know how.  And so that their numbers do not continue to increase.

For me, the only thing that really matters is that we keep trying and keep helping and keep educating about the importance of  TNR.

We are used to hearing negative comments about our work.  We regularly hear how dumb and stupid our  method is. Mostly we hear nothing, we get "looks" or the silence that indicates no interest at all in what we are doing. So... When we hear the positive, we celebrate.  Thank you!  To Shelby Iowa for "getting it".  for understanding the method, embracing it and counting it as valid.  Thank you! To all those sweet cat people that feed outdoor cats, those who take the friendly ones that need a home, for giving them the love they so deserve.  Knowing they have found a place in your heart helps us ignore the hole they left in ours.  Thank you most of all to AVCheryl, our wonderful vets, Kris, Cheryl, Pam and Becky that help so much and understand my passion, because they too are "infected" with the same passion.  And last of all, but not least, THANK YOU to our supporters, for without them, we could not function one day!

Today, on National Feral Cat Day we celebrate feral cats!  Not that they are there, but that there are others like us that are helping them!