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The Alley Cat's Friend
-- by Tricia Nelson --

Good News

Approximately 60 million feral (wild) cats skulk around cities and countrysides in the United States, foraging for food, yowling for companionship and fighting for survival. They contribute to the large number of cats born, captured and euthanized each year in a vicious cycle of birth and death. However, Alley Cat Allies, an organization based in Maryland, is pioneering the use of more humane alternatives to break that cruel cycle.

"We're ethically opposed to taking the lives of cats that can do OK on their own," says Becky Robinson, director of the entirely woman-run group. But, according to some estimates, a pair of fertile cats can produce 42,000 descendants over a seven-year period. Alley Cat Allies has come up with a solution that spares the animals' lives and still puts a stop to the population boom. It's called TTVAR, short for "trap, test, vaccinate, alter and release."

Simply removing cats and euthanizing them isn't effective, notes Robinson, because others eventually move in and begin to breed. "Animal-control organizations just can't keep up with the growing populations," she says.


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