The 4th of July is associated with loads of venerable traditions including town parades, barbecues, picnics, fireworks, and events paying tribute to our nations independence. For me, this July 4th commemorated my first ever town parade that I participated in and one with a very important message to communicate—the spay and neuter of cats! Our formal float name was the “Champions of Spaying and Neutering our Animals.” Our float was the creative idea of a woman in our cat rescue group, who is a luminary in planning and executing events and has a history of participating in town parades. As visionaries do, she saw in her mind exactly how to visually communicate the message of spaying and neutering to a large audience, then set about to fulfill her idea.
In creating our parade entry, she wanted to do something that all county cat rescue groups could participate in. She was interested in all of us walking together as one group with a common mission, not walking under our own group’s banner. She spent hours contacting local cat groups including ARF, Contra Costa Humane Society, Feral Cat Foundation, Halo, and the Contra Costa County Animal Services department in an effort to recruit volunteers and walkers. A core group of six people worked diligently to create the float, signs, banners, and get July 4th decorations to unify all of us as we walked in the parade.
Our signs, which we held proudly on tall posts and also wore on sandwich boards read “If You See a Stray, Spay Today!,” Save Lives! Spay & Neuter!,” and “Prevent a Litter, Fix Your Critter.” We also towed two wagons (our float), the first one carrying a male and female cat with an equals sign pointing to the second wagon carrying a cage full of stuffed cats literally exploding through the cage displaying the slogan, “370,000 in 7 Years.”
We also handed out fliers with the contact information for low cost spay and neuter for domestic cats and also for feral and free-roaming cats and another information sheet with the leading reasons to spay/neuter your pet. The benefits to spay/neuter are numerous starting with reducing the number of healthy, adoptable pets euthanized each year in U.S. shelters due to an overpopulation of cats and dogs in this country. Tragically, a staggering 12 million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized every year in the U.S.—and even more are abandoned left homeless to suffer.
I believe there are 370,000+ reasons to spay and neuter your cat, but some of the top reasons include:
- Spayed and neutered cats live far healthier lives.
- Female cats can’t get uterine cancers; and mammary cancer is reduced by 25%.
- Female cats are less prone to getting urinary tract infections.
- Neutered male cats can’t get testicular cancer.
- Spayed and neutered cats live far longer lives and don’t wander, but want to stay home.
- Cat fights are significantly reduced, decreasing their risk of acquiring FIV, FELV and getting seriously injured.
- Cat urine spraying and marking is reduced.
- Aggression toward other cats is reduced.
- Spaying and neutering is good for the community, reducing the number of cats on the street.
- Spaying and neutering reduces the serious problem of overpopulation of cats in the U.S. and reduces the amount of suffering experienced by homeless, abandoned, and stray cats.
So the next 4th of July, I hope to be there again with our spay and neuter float in the Pleasant Hill town parade, getting the message out to the community how important it is to spay/neuter cats. But in the meantime, I will continue to work on trapping feral and homeless cats, spaying and neutering them, finding homes for the adoptable domestics or returning the ferals to their colonies. And I will continue working our county spay/neuter events held at the local animal shelter.
Really, I will do anything to reduce the suffering experienced by homeless and feral cats, and reduce the horrific euthanasia rates that occur at every animal shelter across our country. Let’s create a nation where every cat and dog has a home, not one that disposes of animals because there are too many, or abandons its animals because they don’t want them anymore or they’re inconvenient.
Written by Jennie Richards, CC4C member
From my Blog: Homelesstohousecats.wordpress.com