OCH offers alternative to euthanization

Outcast CatBy JULIE LINFORD
Special to the Tribune

As we’ve previously noted, last November Outcast Cat Help added a new program to help our community manage the free-roaming cat population – Return to Field (RTF). With RTF, we pull healthy, unadoptable, free-roaming cats turned in at the shelter, get them spayed/neutered, vaccinated and ear-tipped, and return them to their neighborhood. Since the inception of this program, 483 cats have been rescued by Outcast Cat Help.

There are many benefits to a RTF program: the cats rescued in the shelter are saved. There is an immediate reduction in the population of free-roaming cats because those that are unhealthy are not returned and those that are adoptable are rehomed. Through the program we’re able to identify “hot spot” areas in our community – those where there are a significant number of unaltered cats running around and reproducing. These locations are what we call “kitten factories” – places where the population urgently needs to be controlled.

RTF also allows for better stewardship of monies spent by our community on fixing and vaccinating these cats. It protects that investment of donations to rescues conducting trap-neuter-return (TNR) and investments by individuals sterilizing and vaccinating free-roaming cats. But mostly we are providing our community with a humane and effective alternative to the problem of cat overpopulation. In time, our community will learn that euthanizing these healthy cats is not the answer; rather, sterilizing, vaccinating and allowing them to live out the remainder of their lives is the solution.

Outcast Cat Help, (925) 231-0639, outcastcat.org; facebook.com/outcastcathelp

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