OC Community Cats is a small nonprofit organization made up of 75 volunteers who work to help and fight the overpopulation of cats in Orange County.
By catching homeless cats, neutering them and releasing them into their living areas, OC Community Cats prevents the cat population from increasing.
Educating the community on how to properly care for their cats is another key part of the organization helping to manage overpopulation.
“Our main goal is community building because the cats wouldn’t be there without people,” said volunteer Meredith Kirby.
How are people the problem?
Humans contribute to cat overpopulation through negligence by not repairing, abandoning, punishing their cats by taking them outside, or for any reason leaving them outside while they are not neutered.
OC Community Cats asked The Hornet not to disclose the name of their founder in order to protect their privacy.
OC Community Cats was founded in 2015 when the founder was contacted by a man who was feeding homeless cats. He got into trouble with local law enforcement for improperly feeding the cats under city ordinance, which resulted in the city of Anaheim banning the feeding of homeless cats.
To make sure the cats did not starve to death, he asked the founder for help. She decided to start the non-profit organization and convinced local law enforcement agencies to lift the ban. For personal reasons, she is currently not active in her role as founder.
Since then the organization has helped over 1000 cats. Volunteers currently feed about 250 cats a day and manage 30 cat colonies (where a group of cats live together) in Anaheim and Fullerton.
To manage these colonies, volunteers must drive to the sites, feed them, keep tabs on the cats in the colonies and their health, and take them to veterinary care if necessary. They have neutered 95 percent of the cats in the colonies they currently manage.
Catching, neutering, releasing, and feeding, however, are not the only tasks volunteers do for the organization. Kirby is the treasurer, volunteer coordinator, buys the food, tends cats, traps and tends to sick cats.
“Many of the volunteers wear lots of hats,” Kirby said.
Volunteers often take responsibility for a variety of tasks such as feeding cat colonies, trapping, transporting cats to veterinary health care facilities, transporting medication for cats, caring for kittens or friendly adults, or adopting (excluding wild cats) and rescuing kittens the streets.
In addition to volunteering, Kirby is a full-time high school teacher advising the Animal Advocacy Club on their campus. This is where the inspiration to help cats began.
One day Kirby noticed a mother cat and her fresh litter behind her classroom. She contacted a friend who helped catch and care for the kittens while keeping the mother. It wasn’t long before Kirby noticed more cats with kittens on campus. Then her friend taught her how to catch them on her own.
When a friend told her about OC Community Cats, she decided to volunteer.
“It is very rewarding when you help kittens,” said Kirby
Most of the training is currently offered on the website and social media pages, as well as by answering questions via email and phone. Depending on the state and local safety guidelines, workshops and events may take place in the future.
OC Community Cats works exclusively with donations and always accepts volunteers. Volunteer positions include caretakers who feed the cat colonies, care for kittens or friendly adult cats, trappers (will teach volunteers), vet delivery vans, medication, and foster care delivery. They also have volunteers to help manage their social media pages, website, and phone line.
To donate or get more information about OC Community Cats and volunteer positions, visit their website, Facebook or Instagram. To contact directly, call the phone line at (714) 866-8075 or email email@example.com.