(Family Features) From social media to video games, cats rule the internet. They’re a constant source of joy and entertainment, and a beloved part of more than 45 million American homes, according to the American Pet Products Association. There are also millions of free-roaming and homeless cats across the country, however.To help cats in homes and communities enjoy great lives, Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program is working to create more pet-friendly communities. Consider these five ways you can help and learn more at BetterCitiesforPets.com.
1. Provide a forever home. Many shelters are facing increased intake as pet parents feel forced to give up their pets due to hardship. In fact, Shelter Animals Count revealed cat intakes in June were double that of January. Check with your local shelter to learn about adoption options and resources to help. Your community might offer sponsored programs to help local cats get adopted.
2. Make sure your cat has kitty ID. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, microchipped cats are more than 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners than those without chips. One of the first things a shelter or veterinarian will do with a found cat is scan for a microchip, so it’s an easy way to ID your cat if lost and help him or her get home. Also make sure your contact information associated with the microchip is up to date.
3. Share the love. If you’re a cat parent, you know the importance of healthy nutrition, routine vet visits and active play to exercise your cat’s mind and body. You can also help homeless cats enjoy these necessities by supporting your local shelter or rescue. Donate food or funds for medical care, volunteer to help socialize cats or become an ambassador for adoption by sharing social posts about cats looking for homes.
4. Learn about community cats. If your city has a lot of free-roaming cats, you might be surprised to learn they’re probably being cared for on a regular basis through a community cat program aimed at helping humanely reduce overpopulation and nuisance behaviors. In these programs, shelters, volunteers and cities work together to feed, spay or neuter, vaccinate and care for outdoor cats. Learn more with the Community Cat Toolkit from the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Program to see how you may be able to help.
5. Become a community cat advocate. There are various ways to support community cat programs, including getting involved as a feeder, donating food or supplies, or helping with trap-neuter-return events. You can also write letters to your city government to explain the benefits of community cat care and pet-friendly policies. Your voice matters and cats can benefit from your support.
Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock