Thursday, September 4, 2014

rethinking the cat

The Humane Society of the United States has been hosting a symposium across the country called Rethinking The Cat. The event is being held in six cities across the US, with the next one being next Tuesday in Syracuse, NY. The last one will be held in the Seattle area in mid October. It's a free, all day event that has two tracks, Community Cats and Adoptable/Shelter Cats. It looks great!

The Lynnwood, WA one is very close to where I live, so I registered to go. A few days later, I was asked if I wanted to be the speaker to represent the Community Cat Coalition for the panel discussion section. So, now I'm one of the official speakers! I get 25-minutes to talk about the CCC's mission, successes and failures. Wowza!

After committing to do this, I started to wonder about who the other panel speakers are. I remembered something about a guy from the Audubon Society being on the panel, that made me nervous. So, I started to do a little research as to who the other two panel speakers are. Bob Sallinger is the Conservation Director of the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon and Karen Kraus is the Excutive Director of the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon.

I came across an article written jointly by both Bob and Karen in the Portland Tribune that really got me excited, as I think it embodies the mission of the CCC, Working Together to Find Solution To Cat, Bird Struggle - Portland Tribune - wow! I am so thrilled to see their shared vision for finding a solution when so many bird and cat advocacy groups are pitted against each other.
Most importantly, we agree that the real solution to these issues must focus on establishing a culture of more responsible pet ownership. Neither rounding up feral cats nor trap, neuter and return programs alone will be successful as long as there is a steady stream of new cats entering the environment on a daily basis. Focusing solely on feral cats misses the point - studies show that well-fed, free-roaming pet cats are just as likely to hunt wild birds as feral cats do, and somewhere in the lineage of every feral cat is an abandoned or unfixed pet. Real solutions need to focus on the root of the problem and that lies with pet owners.
By finding common ground, we can and will move ahead while other cities continue to disagree on how to help cats and wildlife. There are no perfect solutions, but when mired in arguing, there are no solutions at all.
- Bob Sallinger and Karen Kraus 

I so agree with where Bob and Karen are coming from. I like TNR as a short term solution to keep the feral cat population in check, but ultimately it's not the answer. The community cat puzzle will not be solved by TNR alone, as the feral cat problem is less about cats and more about irresponsible humans.

I'm honored to get to share the stage with two people who really understand the problem and want to work to find solutions more than they want to fight with each other. How awesome it will be to share about the Community Cat Coalition and what we are doing to help the cause.

Has anyone attended one of these symposiums? If so, please let me know what it was like.


  1. that is interesting...normally the bird places take a hard line that "all cats must go"....we hope that maybe everyone can learn to meet in the middle

  2. I never let my kitties outside. For one thing, my urban neighborhood is a hazardous place, and for another, cats tend to live longer, healthier lives if they're kept indoors. I'm selfish enough to want them to live as long as possible, and we have great bird T.V. for their entertainment.

  3. What a great honor. We can't wait to hear all about your experience!

  4. ConCATS on being chosen to speak! I'm sure your presentation will be interesting!

  5. Congratulations! I mean that sincerely. Go do all the cats and birds as well the good I know you can do.

  6. Cool ! Paw up for you.. Concatulation :)

  7. what a wonderful sounding event, and congratulations on being asked to participate, that must have felt good to be asked. I hope you blog about the event afterwards.


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