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Warm December Wishes

For many, this is a time of year full of celebrations, sharing meals with loved ones and feeling thankful for the many good things in our lives. I count my beloved pets among the many blessings in my own life.

Because of them, I recently became a volunteer at a local animal shelter. This is a municipal shelter with a majority of hard-to-place urban dogs (mostly stray pitbulls) and a collection of adult cats that have been relinquished for one reason or another. Some of them were brought in by family members after an elderly relative passed away — and their stories are a poignant reminder of the great importance of having a plan in place should we depart before our pets. Remember: There is no guarantee that someone will either be able or willing to care for your pets, so it’s a good idea to make provisions now while you can.

And then, of course, there are kittens! But these I don’t worry about because the adorable creatures find placement pretty quickly.

I am concerned about the group of stray and feral cats that inhabit my neighborhood, especially because the temperatures are starting to drop and winter is settling in to stay. Our article on ‘Trap-Neuter-Release” (page 6 of this issue) has got me thinking a lot more seriously about how I can help these animals.

TNR is an important movement that was founded to humanely manage the unowned cat populations in communities throughout our country, but there continue to be misconceptions about it and how these feline colonies impact neighboring wildlife.

And if you have a few barn cats in your life, check out some ways (on page 12) to safeguard them this winter if they continue to live outdoors.

Elizabeth Vesci
Executive Editor

Photo at top of page courtesy of

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Tufts Catnip