SUN VALLEY, Calif. – By some estimates, Los Angeles County has over two million feral cats roaming the streets, but no one really knows how big the problem is.
FixNation in Sun Valley is a California nonprofit working to manage the homeless cat population by sterilizing as many cats as possible. They work with volunteer trappers like Jackie.
Fernando Lopez has been a vet tech for almost 25 years and he prepares up to 130 cats to be spayed and neutered every day.
“We have number four here,” said Lopez. “We have a feral kitty. He’s here today for us to sterilize him. We want to make sure when he goes back to the general population, he lives a comfortable life.”
It is come and go here at FixNation, with cats coming in every morning and more importantly, getting picked up to be returned back to their colonies.
Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell is a board member and advocate for TNR or Trap, Neuter and Return.
“We are in the middle of a crisis here with feral cats, community cats, adoptable cats and we have to hit on all fronts and the front here is TNR and that is a loving alternative,” said Galaxy. “Is it the best alternative in the whole world? No, but we have over 2 million cats roaming Los Angeles right now and if want there not to be four, five or six million, this is the way to do it.”
Not every cat can be adopted. Once they are feral, it can be harmful to tame them and it doesn't benefit anybody to keep them indoors, but every cat deserves to live a happy life.
“The most important thing to recognize is this,” said Galaxy as he holds up a small kitten. “It's not about the numbers. Of course, it is a little bit about the numbers, but it's about the lives and what they look like. The cats in this building are just as worthy of our attention and our love as the cat that sits in our lap at night.”
Having managed an animal hospital for over 18 years, Fernando came to FixNation with the hope to help the growing homeless cat population. After dealing with individual cat owners, he wanted to work with the community on the bigger picture.
“It’s an overpopulation issue,” said Lopez. “Obviously, we want every cat to have a home, but we’re not going to adopt ourselves out of this. TNR is the best and most humane way to stop the feral cat community.”