A non-profit cat advocacy group for the Norristown, PA area.

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Cat Crew, First Year

by Sue Wolfe

Cat Crew is a very small non-profit group dedicated to reducing the homeless pet population in and around Norristown, PA. Our first newsletter is meant to update the folks who are concerned about these orphaned cats (and dogs) and who support the work we are doing.

We have independently been doing trap/neuter/release (TNR) in the Norristown area for years to help control the stray cat population. Because it appears the situation is getting worse, instead of improving, I recently incorporated as a non profit organization to further the cause by getting the word out and seeking funding, food donations, and additional volunteers. I have teamed up with local resident Joanne Moody who, for many years, has fed and looked after hundreds of street cats living near her home on Cherry Street.

As Cat Crew, since October of 2011 we have trapped, then spayed or neutered over 100 cats, about one quarter of which were adopted into loving homes. The remaining cats were released back to the areas where they live in colonies and are being fed, mostly by Joanne. Some cats have been given shelter, but others live in the city where providing shelters is difficult or impossible. These cats are fed daily and, hopefully, will live better lives now that they cannot reproduce. At minimum, we have prevented many kittens from being born into the same sad situation--- knowing that half the cats we trap are females who would have given birth to several litters of kittens annually.

The Process

I learned the TNR process through the cat advocacy group Alley Cat Allies. They have a fantastic website and are an amazing source of information and support for anyone working with homeless cats. Please take a look: www.alleycat.org

Forgotten Cats Clinic in Willow Grove is where most of the cats are taken for spay/neuter. This clinic is invaluable in the work they do for feral and domestic cats. Cost is $35.00 for each feral cat and includes the sterilization, flea treatment, rabies and FVRCP vaccination. http://www.forgottencats.org

Cats are trapped on the streets, taken to the clinic, brought back to a recovery area and cared for until they are ready to go to a foster home (me) or back to the street. We keep the cats warm and fed, and watch them for signs of illness. Most cats recover quickly from the spay/neuter surgery and can be released within a week.

We are in great need of foster and adoptive homes for many of the friendly cats we capture. Unfortunately many must be returned to the Borough streets because we have no room for them.

Another local long-time rescue group, Spay and Save, Inc., is integral in supporting our efforts by letting us take friendly cats to their adoption days at local pet stores, and showing them on their website.

Funding

To date our funding has come from local residents and animal lovers who have heard about our work from an article published in January, 2011, in the Times Herald or through the grape vine. Last year we approached the borough of Norristown Board of Supervisors to explain our mission and ask for support. They were enthusiastic about our endeavor but would not help us out with funding.

This year the goal is to increase awareness of the homeless pet situation in Norristown, apply for spay/neuter grants and concentrate on fundraising events and efforts. We know there are hundreds of homeless, intact cats on the streets who need our help, so fundraising is key to getting the situation under control. We currently can only spay and neuter about 100 cats a year, not nearly enough to make a real impact on the problem of overpopulation.

Volunteers

Any and all help is needed and appreciated. A partial list is:

Many people who live in Norristown area neighborhoods are doing TNR independently, and we all appreciate their efforts as well. If all of us could come together to form a coalition we might have more power to acquire funding for our cause and advocate for free or very low cost regular spay/neuter clinics at our local clinics (SPCA).

At minimum, please help support those of us who are trying to make a difference in the lives of these animals. Please contact me, and together we can make a difference by meeting monthly to work toward our goals.

Wish List

There several things on my wish list as we end 2011 and start a new year. Number one is the reduction in the number of homeless animals living on the streets. In this effort we can certainly use funds, moral support and help (volunteers) in our efforts to perform TNR.

Joanne is now feeding over 150 cats daily in downtown Norristown. She has also added Bridgeport to her feeding schedule. Cat food is always appreciated. We can pick up or it can be delivered to several locations, just call or email to find out: 484-802-2089 or 610-824-9471