Feral Freedom Celebrates Sixth Anniversary

March 28th, over thirty Feral Freedom volunteers gathered to celebrate with a spread of Mexican food and raffle prizes, accompanied by the many stories of the cats they have served over the past six years.

It was fun, informative and inspiring. We had the opportunity to hear Staycee Dains, from SJACS, and Pat Abreu speak about the success of the program and reflect on the impact it makes on our community. Staycee thanked everyone for being an outstanding, reliable partner. It is a great team of people.

Pat Abreu thanked the group for their dedication with the following:

“Welcome everyone. Thank you for coming tonight to celebrate the 6th Anniversary of the lifesaving Feral Freedom Program.

We want to thank Betty Wenker for opening up her home to us tonight and thank Gina Davis, our team lead for the Feral Freedom Program, for organizing this volunteer appreciation party.

Town Cats is an independent, private, volunteer-based, nonprofit organization that works to alleviate the suffering of stray, abandoned, orphaned, unwanted, and community cats. We are a team of dedicated hardworking people deeply committed to helping cats and people in our community. Started by Rosi and Albert Mirko, Town Cats has tirelessly served the public since 1997. We sponsor innovative, lifesaving programs to help cats in traditional shelters in our County.

Town Cats has always been a strong proponent of TNR for free-roaming community cats. We all know that it is the proven, humane way to reduce cat populations and increase the overall health of existing cat colonies. We are community cat advocates and we work in our community to educate the public on TNR and best practices for community cat colony care. We educate the public about the cat overpopulation problem and empower members of the public to join us in our work and become part of the solution.

Back in 2008, Town Cats was a founding member of the WeCARE Coalition (Community Alliance to Reduce Euthanasia), which is a successful coalition of the six animal shelters serving Santa Clara County.

Also in 2008, on the opposite coast, the first Feral Freedom Program started in Jacksonville, Florida, with the first public/private collaboration in the nation to save all feral, stray, outdoor, and community cats that entered the city’s shelters. It was a historic, game-changing, paradigm shift in how we treat neighborhood cats.

In March 2010, leaders in our community seized that great idea and started the Feral Freedom Program between San Jose Animal Care and Services and Town Cats. We at Town Cats are the “R” in TNR. Community cats are spayed or neutered at the participating shelters and then our Town Cats teams return the healthy, altered cats back to their home territories.

We stop them from breeding; we don’t stop them from breathing.

The news is a daily downpour of tragedy, stories of social injustice – events that we cannot change.

You are the champions, the volunteers and staff who are out there on the frontlines working for the common good for all of us – people and cats alike.

It’s demanding work – physically and emotionally. Thank you for your dedication and hard work. We can and do make a difference every day with every cat we trap, every kitten we bottle-feed, every cat we place in a good home, every cat we return to field – back to his family, to his home. We can right a wrong. We can help other living beings to a better life. We do make a difference every day – one cat at a time.

I thank you on behalf of Town Cats and the thousands of cats who are alive because of the Feral Freedom Program.

So the next time you are out there, after you have found the street address and you are getting ready to open the cage door and give the cat back her precious freedom, I ask you to hear the lyrics of the great Nina Simone song in your head:

It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. For me. And I’m feeling good.” –Patricia Abreu