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Our Readers Write…

Our Readers Write…

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:00 pm

Help needed caring for city’s stray/feral cat problem
To the editor:
To all Martin animal lovers, we are still 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 3 of Martin’s cat colonies, all within a mile of each other, daily and work regularly to ensure all the cats are sterilized, healthy, and free from injury.  To feed at all 3 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.
Last November I requested help from Martin volunteers after our numbers decreased; we were already stretched tightly, and we only had one person join us.  Now one of our long-term volunteers is leaving Weakley County, and there are just 3 of us left: two older women and one UT Martin student.
The weekly burden on such a small number 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.  We, like all of you, have full-time work or school obligations in addition to family, church, and other demands on our time.  More volunteers would allow us to divide the weekly feeding obligations and have substitutes available as needed. 
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 cat food bank (if not a community pet 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. 
We really need the help of the Martin community to keep the effort going. Please call or text me at 731-819-3248, message me on FB, or email me at hhuse@utm.edu to join us. Thank you.
Heidi Huse
Martin

Published in The WCP 2.19.13

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