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Archived Story

Another worthy program

Published 8:10pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It’s no secret that the Suffolk Humane Society is high on my list of things I love about Suffolk. Next to recognizing some amazing restaurants and the community efforts of many Suffolkians, I’ve used this space more than a few times to laud the Humane Society’s work in the community.

It still amazes me that this dedicated group of individuals finds time to do everything from organizing book readings for children to reducing the need for euthanasia by promoting the adoption of stray animals in Suffolk.

That’s why I’m taking this space again to note that the society is implementing another new program aiming to improve the lives of animals in Suffolk.

The feral cat population in Suffolk faces many threats, including disease, cat fights, dogs, foxes, motor vehicles and starvation, but they also offer threats of their own. Feral cats that do not receive food from humans often survive on birds, rodents and amphibians, many of them native species. The impact on Virginia’s environment can be destructive.

And according to Suffolk Humane Society Director of Community Outreach Kay Hurley, one unfixed feline can spawn 11 million more cats in nine years. Left unchecked, Suffolk’s feral cat population will only grow, increasing the chance of those cats having run-ins with Suffolkians and the animals that call Suffolk home.

That’s why a recent effort by the Humane Society is so important.

On Monday, the society will sponsor its first Feral Cat Day. A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals SNIP van will be stationed at Harmony House, located at 3126 Kings Highway in Driver. Trapped feral cats will be spayed or neutered, tested for feline AIDS and leukemia, vaccinated against rabies and have an ear clipped, which identifies them as having undergone the process.

The effort will go a long way in controlling the feral cat population, and improving the health and well-being of the animals in the process.

But the society can’t accomplish all this work alone.

Donations, including money and traps, are among the needs of the Humane Society. Beyond that, trappers who can catch feral cats for the procedures will be key to the event’s success.

Another important role some Suffolkians can play is to adopt a feral kitten, which, if handled between 3 to 6 weeks of age, can be socialized and adopted. Hurley explained that adult feral cats, which live without human contact their whole lives, often cannot be rehabilitated or adopted by the general public. But if captured early enough, feral kittens have an excellent chance of becoming loveable members of any family.

In the end, supporting the many Suffolk Humane Society programs helps an organization that works everyday to improve the Suffolk community. And that’s good for all Suffolkians, not just animal lovers.

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