Female cats can breed three times a year and have an average of 4 kittens per litter. In just seven years, one non-spayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, emphasizing why a key focus of ours is spay and neuter.
This depends on the age of the kitten. If very young (less than 1 pound or 1 month old), then you will want to watch out for the mother since the kitten had not yet been weaned and has a better chance of surviving with the mother’s milk and care. If this is the case, then you will want to trap the cats under the guidance of an experienced rescue group or shelter community cat team. For any cat who you may think it is appropriate to trap, you always want to have a plan for where the cat will go before you trap the cat. If the cat is above three months of age, then you can trap the cat to have it neutered. There are low cost neuter/spay locations in Philadelphia.
If the cat looks healthy (healthy body condition/weight, healthy fur coat) and is acting calm, then the cat is most likely supposed to be there and is being cared for. If the cat looks unwell (emaciated, ill, injured), then you can try to ask any neighbor nearby if they know who the cat belongs to. If you aren’t able to find any information, then you can take the cat to a vet to be scanned for a microchip and for care, if you are willing to cover the cost. These situations can be tough because care may be urgent. Therefore, if the cat is in need of medical care due to injury, you can take the cat to a vet and make the effort to identify an owner later. Remember the address where you found the cat at, and try your best to make an effort to find the owner before taking the cat.
ACCT in Philadelphia has a program to spay/neuter then release community cats for free at this time. PAWS and the Spayed Club also offer spay/neuter at a low cost. The rabies and FVRCP vaccines can also be given at this time, as well as flea preventative and dewormer for intestinal parasites.
The capacity at Philadelphia animal shelters is limited due to the budget and space. If shelters attempted to keep all friendly cats, then the shelters would fill up very quickly. At full capacity, decisions would have to be made about euthanizing healthy cats. To avoid unnecessary euthanasia, sterilized cats who can do well outside are released back, allowing shelters to focus their efforts on animals who may not thrive outside and need indoor lives.
Love and care! Our foster parents are extremely important to our cause, so a desire to truly help cats is the biggest need. Outside of that, we ask for at least a 3 month commitment. For low-income residents, there are monthly pet pantries found around the city that can help with costs. One is run by ACCT while the other is run by the Philly No Kill Coalition.
During the winter, you can provide a warm, insulated shelter for community cats to help them survive the harsh temperatures. There are many resources online as well as useful videos on YouTube. It is important to use straw as the bedding, not cloth nor hay as both soak up moisture and make cats cold. It is best to place the shelters in a private area where they are not disturbed by people. It is also important that the holes be big enough for cats, but not predators. It is best for the entry way to be elevated off of the ground, so water does not go inside. If you are caring for multiple cats, having one shelter for each cat would be ideal, so they are not fighting over space. Here is an example of how to build a cat shelters: Building Winter Shelters for Community Cats.
Cats also love to hide in the hood of your car during the cold season, so make sure to knock on your hood before starting your car!
If you see someone harming community cats, then you should call the PSPCA right away and make sure they are able to address the situation urgently. If you are not able to connect with them, then you should call the Philadelphia police.
Most Project MEOW foster cats are adopted out from our private foster homes. Project MEOW cats are also adopted from Baltimore Pet Shoppe and West Pets in Philadelphia.
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