North County Paws Cause supports local feline population
Multiple opportunities for community to support the mission
–North County Paws Cause, a local nonprofit organization made entirely of volunteers, aims to improve the welfare of both feral and domesticated cats in the community through spay and neuter programs, fostering, and adoption. There are currently 107 cats and kittens in foster homes, with around 30 cats usually in the system, and the NCPC volunteers are passionate about finding forever homes for these cats.
“Unfixed, unwanted cats in our community become a problem for every one real quick. No one likes unhealthy or sick cats messing up their garden or fighting with their own pet cats. By helping us control these feral populations in our community, and helping us rehabilitate kittens born outside into nice house cats, community members are also making life nicer for all of us who live here, people and animals alike,” said Liz Gillingham, a NCPC foster.
One of NCPC’s services is called the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), where feral cats are humanely caught, neutered, and released back into the community without the risk of creating a litter of kittens. NCPC calculated that a pair of cats is able to produce around 420,000 kittens over seven years due to female cats being able to produce two to three litters a year with one to eight kittens per litter. Gillingham notes the importance of this program because “by fixing the cats we are making sure that the population doesn’t grow out of control and that there aren’t kittens being born and suffering out in the elements, getting sick, or getting preyed on by wild animals.”
Another service provided is the Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), which has a similar goal in the neutering of male feral cats. San Luis Obispo County Animal Services partners with NCPC in identifying feral and shelter cats that are at risk of euthanasia to be treated and returned back to the community or to the Barn Cat Program. “We have volunteers who trap feral cats in the community, get them fixed, vaccinated, and ear-tipped, host them for a short time to make sure they heal up ok, and then return them to their home location or release them somewhere else if their home location isn’t safe,” said Gillingham, adding that “there are many feral cat colonies in our county, with volunteers putting food and water out for those cats.”
The goal of reducing the number of feral kittens and finding forever homes for fostered cats has only grown more important during the pandemic. The SNR program was paused for the past year, causing an increase in the number of feral kittens in the community. With the SNR program back up and running, NCPC is hoping for a mobile spay/neuter bus called the SNIP Bus to assist with the high demand for these surgeries. In addition to the higher number of feral cats, NCPC and other animal organizations are seeing “COVID pets” given back to shelters, which Gillingham calls “really disheartening. There are great options available for people going back to work! Pet daycare, pet sitters, training – these are all better than relinquishing a pet.” In addition, the process of fostering and adopting is life changing for the feral kittens, who undergo socialization and training while in their foster home.
There are multiple opportunities for those in the community who want to help NCPC’s mission of providing a healthy and thriving life to the local cat population.
- Donations of food, toys, litter, and other supplies can be delivered to Foss Farm’s Farmstand in Atascadero, the Paso Robles Petco, or the Paso Robles Grocery Outlet. Tax-deductible monetary donations can be done via Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org or at this link.
- Shopping on smile.amazon.com and choosing NCPC as the non-profit will donate a portion of purchases directly to NCPC.
- Volunteers for trapping cats, transporting cats to veterinary clinics and foster homes, processing adoptions at the Paso Robles Petco Adoption Center, administrative work, and fostering are always needed.
“There are so many ways to help, from donations to time, and it makes such a difference in every little life we are able to save,” said Gillingham.
For more information, visit northcounty-pawscause.org or call (805) 221-5100.