THE CAT CRISIS
By David Thomas
One on One with Diane less Cofounder of Angels for Animals
- How bad is the cat overpopulation problem?
Right now in this area there are 20–30 cats & kittens for every available home.
2. Why is this happening?
Because people love to feed cats! Much like the homeless people problem, feeding the cats feeds the problem. Of course, you can’t let them starve! But they have to have a future & permanent solution. The first thing is spay or neuter to keep the number at one!
Sadly, even though most people know this they say “Oh it’s not my cat.” Well, if you feed the cat, care about it, you need to take care of that. If you can’t please take it to a shelter. Yes, it may be humanely euthanized, but understand, by not stopping the cat from reproducing, this is the very reason euthanasia is the only answer.
3. What does your organization do?
We try to stop the problem, before it starts by offering low cost spay & neuter to the public. We run specials all the time as funding is available. We try to educate the public that all felines need “fixed.”
4. How long has Angels for Animals existed?
Angels was incorporated in 1990.
5. Is the problem becoming overwhelming?
The problem has always been overwhelming. In our society, cats are second class pet citizens. Why do you not see this problem with dogs?
6. I found 3 kittens under my back porch about a month ago, I made a Facebook post and someone came and got them, what should I have done?
First of all, where is the mother? She is there! Setting a live trap for her would be the first idea. Before giving kittens away, make sure the people are going to have them fixed otherwise you just spread the problem. Our current “spay deal” is Show us the Mommy. The whole litter comes in. Mommy is fixed, tested for AIDS & leukemia & rabies vaccinated for $30. The kittens for only $10. This ends the family line.
I would be highly suspicious of anyone wanting 3 kittens at once. Kittens are often used as snake food. They smash their feet with pliers and feed them to the snake alive! They are also often used as bait for fighting dogs.
We rarely adopt 3 kittens at once to anyone. Pets are expensive & a lifelong responsibility.
Our goal at Angels is a permanent loving home for every dog & cat with a responsible parent.
7. When did overpopulation start? Was the pandemic a perfect storm to help create this issue?
When we started Angels in 1990 there were 500 cats for every home. We have beat the problem back to 5% of the original. 2018 was the first year we did not have to euthanize any adoptable cats.
Covid made people reclusive and quite frankly, lazy. They just slid back on this issue. We never closed our shelter or services and yet the excuses were “oh we didn’t know you were open.” Seriously, did you try to call us? So, we struggle to save these cats. Right now, we have 800 in our system. We can house about 400. The rest are in private foster homes.
Without lots of volunteers & donations, saving the cats is impossible! Sadly, this is all preventable! Humans create this problem through ignorance & apathy.
8. If people want to help or contribute how can they reach you guys?
Donations can be made online at angelsforanimals.org or over the phone at 330–549–1111 option #5. If you’d like to send a check or money order we still have naming opportunities available in our Angel Wing. Our mailing address is 4750 W. South Range Rd. Canfield, Ohio 44406.
9. Is there a Vet shortage crisis?
The Vet shortage is a national problem. There are 4.5 jobs for every Vet in the U.S. We can never find enough.
10. How is your staff staying sane with the overwhelming problem?
Our staff is trying to handle the issue. They are sick, often physically. Burn out is the main issue. Turning cats away is often talked about. They hate people for dumping cats they no longer care about.
The average “life span” of an animal shelter employee or volunteer is 3 years. I've been at it 32 years!
Do I need to say more?
Global Human Rights Journalist