Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves.
For many years, I had known about Friends2Ferals. But it wasn’t until February 2021 when I contacted Nancy Schneiter, the nonprofit’s director, about a couple who lost their mobile home in a fire and had 15 feral cats. The wife had been severely burned, and the husband’s priority was his wife. But late at night, he came to his burned-out home to visit and feed the cats. Despite most being feral, he knew each cat by name.
Nancy quickly met me and instructed me on how to set traps. She explained the concept of TNR — trap, neuter and return. Once captured, each cat has a medical review, is neutered/spayed, vaccinated and treated for parasites, then returned.
Fortunately, the friendlier cats got adopted through partnering rescues.
Most people don’t understand that truly feral cats are not adoptable. They have never been socialized to people and are fearful of humans. Returning is key to creating or maintaining no-kill animal shelters by freeing up space for adoptable cats. These cats didn’t ask to come into the world only to be euthanized. They can live a happy, healthy life returned home with a caregiver.
I have volunteered for Friends2Ferals ever since this first experience. These often overlooked and forgotten cats are being cared for rather than living a harsh or deadly life. Females are healthier with no more unwanted kittens. Males are no longer injured or killed from fighting. It is rewarding to witness the happiness, relief and joy of the caregivers as well.
Ferals are often called community cats. It takes the local community to make this work possible — volunteers, donors, fosters and adopters. It does “take a village” to make our community better.
TNR works! Join us in making a better world together!
For more on Friends2Ferals, visit friends2ferals.org.