OC Community Cats is a small non-profit organization made up of 75 volunteers committed to helping and managing the cat overpopulation within Orange County.
By trapping homeless cats, neutering them, and releasing them back to their living areas, OC Community Cats prevents the cat population from multiplying.
Community education on how to properly care for their cats is another main component of the organization that helps manage overpopulation.
“Our main goal is community education because the cats wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for people,” Volunteer Meredith Kirby said.
How are people the problem?
People contribute to cat overpopulation by negligence, not fixing their cats, abandonment, punishment by putting them outside, or letting them outside for any reason while they are un-neutered.
OC Community Cats has asked The Hornet to refrain from including the name of their founder to protect her privacy.
OC Community Cats was founded in 2015 when the founder was contacted by a man that fed homeless cats. He ran into trouble with local law enforcement for not properly feeding the cats within the city ordinance, which caused the city of Anaheim to place a ban on feeding homeless cats.
Frantic to ensure the cats did not starve, he then reached out to the founder for help. She decided to start the non-profit organization and convinced local law enforcement to have the ban lifted. She is not currently active in her role as founder due to personal reasons.
Since then, the organization has helped over 1000 cats. Volunteers currently feed about 250 cats every day and manage 30 cat colonies (where a group of cats lives together) located in Anaheim and Fullerton.
Managing these colonies entails volunteers driving to the locations, feeding them, keeping track of the cats within the colonies and their health, and taking them for veterinary care if needed. They have neutered 95 percent of the cats within the colonies they currently manage.
However, trapping, neutering, releasing, and feeding are not the only tasks volunteers do for the organization. Kirby is the treasurer, volunteer coordinator, purchases the food, fosters cats, traps, and takes care of sick cats.
“Many of the volunteers wear many hats,” said Kirby.
Volunteers often take responsibility for several tasks such as feeding cat colonies, trapping, transporting cats to veterinary facilities for healthcare, transporting medications for cats, fostering kittens or friendly adults, or working to get them adopted (excluding feral cats), and rescuing kittens off the streets.
In addition to volunteering, Kirby is a full-time high school teacher and advises the Animal Advocacy Club on her campus. That 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 trap the kittens and found fosters for them, while she kept the mother. It wasn’t long before Kirby noticed more cats with kittens on campus. That’s when her friend taught her how to trap them herself.
When a friend told her about OC Community Cats, she decided to volunteer.
“It’s very rewarding if you’re helping kitties,” Kirby said
Most of the education is currently provided on their website and social media pages, as well as by answering questions through their email and phone line. Workshops and events may be held in the future, depending on state and local safety guidelines.
OC Community Cats operates strictly on donations and is always accepting volunteers. Volunteer positions include caretakers to feed the cat colonies, fostering kittens or friendly adult cats, trappers (will teach volunteers), transporters for veterinary care, medications, and delivering fosters. They also have volunteers that help manage their social media pages, website, and phone line.
To donate or for more information on OC Community Cats and volunteer positions, visit their website, Facebook, or Instagram. To reach out directly, call their phone line at (714) 866-8075 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.