Sparing a thought for stray cats
03 April 2020
April 4 is World Stray Animals Day and while much is known about pet cats, very little is known about stray cats. Cats Protection’s Cat Watch project, which began in September 2016, aims to improve understanding of the unowned cat population in urban areas.
The project has initially focused on areas of disadvantage; in such areas animals often suffer from poor levels of welfare. This is linked to the limited resources available to people in the community due to financial constraints. People are less likely to get their cats neutered, which often leads to unwanted cats roaming the streets as strays.
The project has been rolled out in areas of Nottingham, Liverpool, Bradford and Bedfordshire. CP works with the communities to improve cat welfare. All of the Cat Watch interventions aim to provide an element of social support to communities, unifying them over a shared cause, which has proven to help cats and people.
Cat Watch teams provide Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services for community cats, returning them to their caretakers or rehoming friendly strays for whom life on the street is not suitable. In just over three and a half years, the project has helped to create community cohesion as people share responsibilities for caring for cats. Many of the cats helped have been much-loved local personalities, strutting their stuff through neighbourhoods and visiting their many ‘owners’ for a bite to eat and a sofa to sit on.
Nearly 4000 reports of stray cats have been made across all Cat Watch areas. Shifts in attitudes have also happened with more people thinking that neutering, veterinary care and provision of food and water is important for unowned cats.
During this year CP plans to extend the project.
Find out more about the Cat Watch project here.