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SAFER Lives Up To Its Name By Helping Homeless Cats Out of Danger

By Pamela Sosnowski

It's a relatively unknown fact that a cat as young as 4 months old can get pregnant. Even more concerning is that within five years, it's possible for an unsprayed female cat and her mate to create a colony of over 11,000 felines, many of which will die tragic deaths when left to fend for themselves outside, without a loving home.

This is what drives the mission of Seacoast Area Feline Education & Rescue (SAFER), a non-profit organization based in Hampton that is dedicated to helping homeless cats in the New Hampshire Seacoast area. See mission statement below.

"(We) humanely trap, neuter and medically clear, release or place those cats that are deemed to be homeless, always improving the quality of life for the cats in our care. (We) develop and administer programs that will both educate the public and meet the needs of the homeless cats, thus helping to make the NH Seacoast cats SAFER."

SAFER relies completely on donations and its army of caring volunteers that help humanely trap or catch homeless cats and then determine if they're eligible for the adoption process. Not every cat is- those that are deemed "feral" ("wild to the point of being impossible to adopt") will be spayed or neutered, receive medical care, have an ear tipped for identification, and then be released back to the outdoors near one of several feeding stations that SAFER maintains. Some feral cats evaluated by SAFER also find their way to owners that can provide shelter such as a barn, and food.

"Basically, SAFER improves the quality of life for homeless cats by getting them out of dire circumstances and into the best situation possible," says Susan Ayer, Volunteer Coordinator and Board Member. "Even the life of those returned to the outdoors is improved, as they are no longer producing litter after litter of kittens."

Ayer can't stress enough the importance of spaying and neutering of cats to reduce the homeless feline population and even improve the quality of life for cats that do have homes.

"For stray cats, spaying/neutering is crucial to breaking the cycle of disease, injury, starvation and suffering that comes with overpopulation of homeless cats trying to live by their wits," she explains. "Even your pampered pet will be better off. In general, a cat is calmer and less likely to fight once neutered, but in any case, the procedure is simple and recommended."

Would you like to help SAFER and homeless cats in the Hampton area? The organization is always in need of volunteers and donations, but is also seeking veterinarians that are willing to spay and neuter cats at reduced rates, and foster homes to provide loving environments for pregnant cats and those with litters that are not old enough to be adopted yet, as well as cats awaiting to be checked by a vet and be placed into their "furever" home. Visit their website for more information.

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