Our readers write

Our readers write

Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 7:00 pm

Volunteers needed to feed feral cats
To The Editor:
To all Martin animal lovers, we are in desperate need of your help. If you weren’t aware, Martin has a serious stray/feral cat problem that can only grow worse as the cats are left to reproduce.  A very small handful of Martin residents feed three of Martin’s cat colonies, all within a mile of each other, daily and work regularly to ensure all the cats are sterilized.  To feed at all three sites takes around 25 minutes.  Unfortunately, the limited number of long-term volunteers, along with a lack of funding, prevents us from making serious progress in reducing the unwanted cat population.
And just recently our numbers decreased.  One of our newer volunteers has left because the need to feed the colonies twice every week was impossible for her to continue any longer. But that’s the problem with so few volunteers: the burden on what is now four of us is constant, since there just are not enough of us week to week, on a long-term basis, to make that burden lighter.  
In addition to losing our new volunteer, we will lose one of our committed young volunteers next spring, after which there will be just three older women taking care of these three sites every day.  One of us has chronic health issues and as for myself, I’m just exhausted feeling like we have to carry on this work alone. So we are desperate for area animal lovers to join us.
We welcome UT Martin student volunteers while they’re here in Martin.  But we especially need Martin residents to join us long term.  In addition, joining our effort could be a great long-term sorority or fraternity service project, a Martin church ministry or a Martin business or organization opportunity for service or sponsorship.  In addition to simply feeding the colonies on assigned days, we’d love to start a food bank, we consistently have cats to spay/neuter, we need foster and permanent homes for kittens, and we’d love to begin actual advocacy in the area. So there are many ways to get involved if we get enough people.
I know that having to feed every assigned night, rain or shine, whether it’s convenient or not, can be time-consuming and frustrating, and that buying the food can get expensive. But if we can increase our numbers significantly, then that burden gets shared across a wider base.  So the more of us there are over the long term, the better for everyone involved. 
One of our volunteers just last week caught one of our cats to get it sterilized, so we are doing all we can. But we desperately need the help of the Martin community to keep the effort going. Please call or text me at (731) 819-3248, message me on Facebook, or email me at hhuse@utm.edu if you can join us. Thank you.
Heidi Huse
Martin

Published in the WCP 11.13.12

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