4th of April is one of the most important day in the calendars of many rescues, organizations and animal shelters who work on making animals’ lives better - it’s the World Stray Animals’ Day set to spread the awareness about troubles that animals face after being left by their Carers, as well as the need to help them in many aspects of their lives. There are many animals who can’t live happily and safely by their loving Carer’s side and they’re not all just cats and dogs (though there’s increasing numbers of them in shelters every day), but also smaller mammals, rodents, reptiles and amphibians. And yes - working towards reducing the population of stray animals requires actions from responsible organisations and the society as a whole, but each one of us, fabCats, can help a little too, putting our 5 cents into making a better life for the furs who weren’t so lucky in their lives so far. How can we help so that stray animals can have better lives?
Welcome to your new home, friend!
Adoption is, of course, the most effective way to better the quality of life for stray animals and reduce their numbers in shelters, rescues, foster homes or on the streets. Be it a cat, a dog, a bird, a reptile, a bunny or some other, exotic friend, giving them a loving home is the best we can offer. Our first cats - Luis and Figo were both adopted (the first one taken from a shelter in Toruń, the second one - from our backyard) and loved beyond anything. We miss them every day and we’re glad we were able to give them a loving home that supported them every step of their cat lives. Inviting them to our homes and hearts was the best decision we’ve ever made.
When making a decision to adopt an animal, it’s certainly good to take many different things into consideration and think the decision through. Cats or dogs living in shelters or foster homes are not always kittens - adult animals also need our love and help, but they can also have their specific needs like living without other animals, being on a specific diet or needing constant medical care. We should definitely not be scared of adopting animals like them, as long as we’re able to provide them with the proper care their need, but it’s always wise to get to know their history, their experiences and needs beforehand so that every party involved in the adoption process is happy with the decision that is made.
And what can we do when adoption is not on the table?
Feeding the street cats
Cats are definitely the most demanding group when it comes to stray animals living on the streets. Because there has been some serious issues with consistency when it comes to spaying and neutering cats who do go outside, their population grows very quickly, leading to overpopulated shelters, as well as small, everyday tragedies in cats’ lives. Besides spreading the awareness about pros of spaying and neutering male and female cats and the risks of letting them outside, each one of us can help the cats who did end up on the streets, e.g. through feeding them and providing them with medical care (as much as we’re able to do so, even if it’s by working with a local organization and bringing any occurring issues to their attention).
How should we feed stray cats? First and foremost, let’s choose good quality, meaty wet food that can be placed throughout the neighborhood in spaces where cats live and feel safe. There’s more and more food of good quality on the market right now and the prices are just as good as for the lower quality, popular options. It’s also a good idea to give away the food that didn’t take well with our cats at home. Our myKotty team cats often test out new food, but since not all of them are deemed tasty enough, the food that is left (and there’s often many unopened cans of it) is donated to neighborhood cats or to the local shelters and foster homes.
Supporting rescue organizations
Foundations and organizations who help stray animals do a lot of work towards making their lives better, providing animals with not just food, but also any necessary medical care and, in many cases, the possibility of finding a new, loving home. The budget of such organizations is often limited, which is why any financial, material or personal help is highly appreciated. To support foundations in their work, we can:
- Donate supplies - toys, basic starter supplies (very useful, especially in foster homes), scratchers, beds, blankets, travel crates, litter and litter boxes, food - almost everything is needed and will be appreciated, but it’s always good to ask the foundation about what they particularly need at this time.
- Support financially - foundations and organizations are regularly fundraising for specific causes, be that a medical emergency, everyday support for animals who are under the organization’s care or an organized action to spay, neuter, vaccinate or deworm cats and dogs in the neighborhood. On top of that, there are many auctions and sales where you can buy accessories for yourself or your pets and all proceeds are donated to the foundation.
- Apply as a foster home. Cats and dogs who are waiting to be adopted need to socialise with people and when they’re in a shelter, they often don’t have many opportunities for that. If you can’t adopt and take the responsibility of caring for a dog or a cat long-term, you could consider helping short-term by taking a cat or a dog under your roof as a foster home. Acts like this are invaluable to many organizations and they’re a wonderful experience for you as well.
Why is it good to help?
Domestic animals like cats and dogs can’t be left alone to deal with their lives - they need the support and help of people to live a happy life. Unfortunately, we can’t take every single animal into our homes, but thanks to many organizations who help them, even small actions from our end are having an overall positive impact on those animals’ lives. As we’re facing a worldwide crisis and a war in Ukraine right now, the needs of local shelters and foundations are bigger than ever - Poland has been taking in many animals who, alongside their Carers, had to flee their own, safe house and come to look for a shelter in a foreign place. Let’s help wherever we can.
And how do you, fabCats, support animals in need? Have you adopted cats or dogs from the shelter, or maybe you’re feeding the neighborhood cats around you and giving them a safe environment to live in? We’ll be waiting for your beautiful stories in the comments.