This is part three of a three-part series. Read “Speaking for Cats in the Golden State“ and “Protecting Cats in Riverside, California.”

My trip to California ended in Oceanside, where I met with the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) staff to talk about how to better address the community’s concerns about cats.

The SDHS Oceanside campus is beautiful and modern, with separate buildings for dogs and cats (and other small animals). It even has a space to separate neonatal kittens from adults for daily monitoring. We were excited to share our strategies about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)the best way to save community catswith the SDHS Oceanside team. And they were eager to learn about how to talk about TNR with people new to this approach.

On my last day in California, I had the opportunity to get to know the SDHS staff at the San Diego campus and share a little bit of my experience from the National Cat Help Desk. The facilities in San Diego are just as great as Oceanside, and their summer programs and youth education efforts are wonderful.

These include spring and summer camps where kids have the opportunity to learn about and interact with adoptable animals. It’s a win-win situation: kids develop respect for animals, and the adoptable animals receive socialization. Children are also welcome to join SDHS once a month for Pet Pals, another fun and educational program that teaches lessons, like responsible pet care, to youth.

I was surprised that (in both Oceanside and San Diego) cat volunteers, humane society staff, and other volunteers showed an interest in TNR and community relations. It’s encouraging that they know TNR is the most effective method to managing community cat populations!

That afternoon, I also talked to local people who wanted to learn how to do their part in supporting SDHS’ efforts in stabilizing community cat populations. It was an honor to be able to show them how the community can support TNR and help local shelters. That night, one TNR enthusiast went back home with a humane trap that she will use in her neighborhood to make sure that all the cats are eartipped and healthy in their outdoor homes!

SDHS workshop attendee learns how to use a humane trap.

SDHS workshop attendee learns how to use a humane trap.

I hope I get the opportunity to travel back to California and the rest of the West Coast soon to see all the cats that thrive thanks to TNR, their local governments’ support, and their compassionate caregivers. Having the privilege to meet so many great people who are working hard to give the cats a better life, regardless of their profession, location, and resources is very humbling and heartwarming.

From the field,

Daniel López Breña

Daniel_Cat_emailthumbDaniel López Breña is an Outreach and National Cat Help Desk Specialist with Alley Cat Allies. Daniel recently returned from California, where he met with cat advocates in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, and San Diego.