Monday, March 21, 2011

Come Together

The Smithsonian claims that outdoor cats (feral and pet) are a serious danger to birds. They even seem to suggest (subtly) that TNR be abandoned and that TNR supporters are unknowingly killing birds.

Alley Cat Allies claims that loss of habitat and increased human activities are a far greater danger to birds than cats ever will be.

Both sides were posting on twitter in a way that made me, as a supporter of both organizations, feel a bit awkward.

My take? They need to work together. Alley Cat Allies should push hard for cat parents to keep their kitties indoor only, with a strong push at suburban areas where the Smithsonian claims birds are being killed most often. The Smithsonian, instead of trying to claim that TNR is ineffective (without any research to back this up) because it requires a 70% saturation in a colony, should actually make a push for strong TNR. Help people trap kitties, donate the time of the zoo vets to assist with the spay/neuter surgeries. Maybe the two could even have a cross-promotion where for every cat owner who signs a pledge to keep her cat indoors-only and makes a donation to a special fund (half going to TNR, half going to songbird rehab and research), people can attend a special event at the Smithsonian zoo to learn about big cats.

Essentially, it seems ridiculous to me that two organizations that care about animals can't find a way to come together and find ways to support each other and all animals.

Admittedly, this is part of a larger frustration with "opposing" sides refusing to associate with or listen to each other.  Imagine what could happen if good, small breeders stood with the HSUS and started supporting bans against puppy mills? If Peta listened to small farmers and found ways to improve the lives of animals on farms? As I said before, if animals can come together, why can't we?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Paddy's Day

Most people today will have at least a beer or two. I'd say the majority will have far more than two. If you're one of those, please take my challenge to donate at least the cost of two beers to your favorite group helping in Japan.

American Humane's Red Star Group and WSPA are both helping in Japan. In addition, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support has been doing some amazing work.

Do you think St Patrick would rather you get smashed tonight on green beer or that you help some suffering creatures? Thankfully, you don't have to choose and can do both if you want! Even if you don't believe in saints, give to the groups anyway.

By the way, if you want a touching story of survival, the kitties and people of Cat Island seem to have survived despite the worst fears! Here's a Discovery article.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Save the Date! April 21, Meow Mixer!

Very exciting personal news--I'll be taking the lead on Meow Mixers this kitten season for Washington Humane Society! I'm both thrilled and terrified I'll make a cake of it. The first one is scheduled for Thursday, April 21 in the evening (likely 7-9 although the times aren't nailed down yet).

If you're in the DC area and thinking of adding a cat to your heart, please come! The events are open house style with snacks and soda so you can nibble while meeting great cats. There are usually both kittens and adult cats, although we've been known to focus on one side of the age spectrum depending on that Mixer's theme. One of my favorites was a Baby Shower Meow Mixer where mama cats had reduced adoption fees. We also did one with more senior kitties and gave a free cat bed out with adoption of senior cats.

I'm having a hard time keeping my brain from just staying in hyperfocus on the events. I've been debating themes, flyer and tweet ideas, blog posts, restaurants to approach for free snacks...  The "good" side of my ADHD is coming out for this one!

My personal favorite flyer idea for the first event, although I'm worried it might be just due to my weird humor, is my boyfriend's idea of a grayscale, noir-style image and the words "They're coming..." with a small explanation below that kitten season is starting up and we'll be overloaded with cats and kittens so now is the time to come in and meet the first of the season's awesome litters. He wants these as postcards which I can easily envision, but I'm fairly sure that would be too expensive. I also received permission from Randall Munroe (awesome XKCD artist) to use his Cat Proximity comic on a flyer (I think it'd be suitable for flyers at local dives and indie places). So I'll want to use that at some point. If you think any ideas I've mentioned are awful, please tell me! I have my first planning meeting the first week of April and hope to come to it with a full plan of theme, flyers, sample tweets, blog posts, possible partners, etc. Maybe we can do a small door prize or raffle (25c tickets? I want it to be really inexpensive) if I talk with my local (favorite, has shown tons of support for WHS, and just has amazing people!) pet supply shop, Living Ruff.

I did make sure that one of my friends, an amazing volunteer who has been at the shelter longer than I have and has worked events in the past, would be available to help. I figure there's no shame in making sure I have support I know for the first event. I've helped with these events in the past and done quite a bit of work on them, but I've never fully taken the lead on a Meow Mixer before so I want to be sure I have support I know I can count on.

I hope all of you are doing well in your kitten season preparations. Also, if you observe Lent, many wishes for a blessed Lent. I didn't attend Ash Wednesday services but I did rub my forehead against an ash-colored kitty which counts in my mind.