Learn about the new program to improve the life of feral cats in our neighborhoods
BY ANDREA CIFUENTES, STAFF WRITER
My name is Andrea Cifuentes, and I am currently a senior pursuing a degree in Integrative Studies with a double minor in Marketing and Nonprofit Studies. I am writing to you on behalf of the mutual interest my volunteer coordinator Gina Lynch and I have towards helping out feral cats in our region live an enriched and healthy life as a stray.
I have been volunteering for a few years at many local animal shelters or rescues and recently found a passion for the art of fundraising. And what better reason to fundraise than to improve the welfare of animals?
Not only do I volunteer, but I work at a nonprofit animal rescue where I provide our rescue animals – many of whom are dogs and cats – with enrichment, care and mostly love for their future families. Working alongside Gina, I have realized the importance of this program and the many benefits it could provide for the cats’ wellbeing.
Gina runs many roles for the Humane Society of Fairfax County with over 20 years in experience within fundraising, coordinating volunteers, community outreach and creating her newest project for her longstanding community cat program.
This new project is a fundraising initiative to raise money and food donations for feral cats in our neighborhoods. The idea of the initiative came about when Gina noticed the progression of kittens being born around our area and the problems that arise with that.
Living on the streets is not easy for any animal and some may be injured and need proper assistance. This can include complicated situations, such as the continuous overpopulation of stray cats, as well as working to meet the cats’ necessities while living outdoors without a properly enriching or stable environment.
These cats not only come from overpopulation, but also from individuals giving up their cats by letting them outdoors. It is imperative to not only educate the general public on the proper care for cats, but what comes with leaving them outside and the health issues that can arise.
With this knowledge and experience, Gina has been able to push this initiative and is asking for donations to not only help the animal shelter, but to educate and bring forth a program that would also work to find homes for the kittens that are born to community cat moms.
To put the fundraising initiative into perspective, this program would provide feral cats roaming the neighborhoods with homemade cat stations which provide food/water, and homemade shelters to sleep in. Additionally, the cats will be provided necessary vaccinations such as those for distemper and rabies.
Lastly, the process of trap-neuter/spay and return, or “TNR,” is the most effective to stop steady progression of the species as our animal officers will bring in the feral cats, perform the surgery and return the feral cat to its environment.
Through this funding, Gina is hopeful in raising money that can provide the feral cats in our immediate area of Fairfax County with the many benefits this program can bring them and support those individuals already supplying feral cats in our neighborhoods with extra resources and help.
The main priority here is to further educate the public and ensure those cats living outdoors, as well as those coming into our care, maintain a fulfilled and well-nourished life.
There are so many options to support us through our community cat program whether it is through donations, supplying us with cat food or helping with volunteering to make the shelters and feeding stations for the cats. Please consider donating to help our program to help us continue our work with feral cats in the region.
For more information, as well as where to donate, visit https://hsfc.org/about/faqs/feral-cats/.