The Alley Cat Allies (ACA) World Veterinary Day this past Saturday, April 25th. They did so by recognizing veterinarians and the crucial role that they play in protecting our felines.
Veterinarians serve their communities in many ways. They provide quality healthcare and treatment for cats and they serve as a vital source of information and understanding about cats and cat health. Vets play an essential role in the success of the effective, humane programs for community cats, also called strays. One of the most successful programs is TNR, Trap-Neuter-Return. Vets provide incredible work in this area and many other areas.
Alley Cat Allies knows about all the important work that veterinarians provide and they are so grateful for it! Thus they worked to ensure their role is recognized not just on Saturday, but throughout the year.
The theme for the 2015 World Veterinary Day is “Vector-Borne Diseases with a Zoonotic Potential.” This is a subject veterinarians are often asked about regarding outside cats.
Vets are experts that are able to answer questions from the public and dispel common myths about zoonoses. The myths have a tendency to cause undue fear; fear that costs many strays their life. Thankfully, though, these animal doctors can help get people to understand that the outdoor cats are actually healthy members of the community.
One example of this deduction is the enormous success of rabies vaccinations and their prevention in the United States. The vaccines are illustrative of the impact that vets make and their support for effective, humane programs like TNR for stray cats. They are the largest providers of rabies vaccines in communities. In fact, because of this program, there has not been a single cat to human rabies transmission in the U.S. for 40 years. That is quite an impressive record due in large part to veterinary practice and education. It is also due to the enhanced growth of TNR programs that are in place or going into place nationally.
If you have not heard of the Trap-Neuter-Return program before, it is where community cats, strays, or feral cats, as they are commonly referred, are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and then eartipped. Eartipping is the universal signal to people in the cat world that a feline has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated.
Once a cat has been taken care of, they can be either adopted out or, if they are unsocialized, they can be returned to their outdoor homes. TNR really works, especially if it becomes the mainstream approach for community cats and it is supported by veterinarians everywhere in the United States.
“The importance of cooperation between veterinarians and community cat groups cannot be understated,” says Becky Robinson, President and Founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Together, they create a powerful coalition that saves cats’ lives and mobilizes the community with knowledge and resources.”
Veterinarians must realize after Saturday that the Alley Cat Allies support them and want to provide them with needed information so that they can respond to and educate the communities that they serve about cat health. ACA also wants vets to be able to dispel common misconceptions and myths about feral cats. They sponsor trainings throughout the country to provide hands-on experience for the animal doctors in high-volume spay and neuter procedures. ACA also wants to teach veterinarians how to respond to the unique needs of the feral/stray/community cats.
Resources for veterinarians can be found on Alley Cat Allies’ website at www.alleycat.org/veterinarian. In addition, veterinarians are encouraged to sign an online pledge to show their support for TNR.