Q&A with ASPCA

We’re proud to partner with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), who sponsored our seminar “Kitten Lady Tells All” on Sunday, August 13th at 10:30 a.m. Kitten Lady, aka Hannah Shaw, is a neonatal kitten warrior! (Pictured above, A kitten from the ASPCA L.A. Foster Program)

CatCon creator Susan Michals spoke with Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA, to learn more about the organization and its initiatives to help cats right here in Los Angeles.

 

ASPCA President and CEO, Matt Bershadker

 

Tell us about the ASPCA’s history.

Having turned 151 last April, we’re proud to be not only the longest-standing animal welfare organization in America, but one that continues to elevate and evolve our efforts to save and protect animals in crisis – whether that means advocating for TNR, relocating animals from overpopulated shelters to areas where their chances for adoption are stronger, or helping financially challenged owners keep and care for their pets.

Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA in 1866 with a tremendous vision and commitment, but he could not have foreseen the contemporary challenges faced by vulnerable and victimized animals. That’s why we take great inspiration from our past, but keep our focus on the present state and future of animal welfare in America.

What is the ASPCA doing in L.A. to help cats?

In 2014, we committed $25 million to saving and protecting the lives of some of the most vulnerable animals in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Working with our local partners, we conduct an extensive animal relocation program, operate a low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic in South L.A., and manage a Safety Net program that makes critical spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and other resources accessible and affordable for local residents.

More cats than dogs are euthanized in L.A. County shelters, and cats are most at-risk at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center. To reduce these numbers and lower these risks, we initiated a fee-waived cat adoption program, in which the ASPCA has covered the costs for all adoption fees for cats and kittens over the past two years. In addition, we launched a Feline Pilot Project in April 2017 at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center with the goal of increasing the number of cat lives saved at the shelter. Through this project, our staff is introducing Baldwin Park shelter staff to new life-saving procedures and moving the most vulnerable of its animal population, kittens under eight weeks old, into our L.A. Kitten Foster Program.

How can CatCon attendees help the ASPCA save kittens in L.A.?

First and foremost, anyone with room in their home and heart for a very vulnerable kitten should let us know right away by visiting ASPCA.org/FosterLA. These animals need foster homes desperately. We provide all medical services and supplies and will even bring kittens to fosters’ homes. They stay in your home for a maximum of four weeks. Please share this need and our program with local friends in person and on your social networks.

What advice do you have for first-time cat fosters, or someone who is considering signing up as an ASPCA kitten foster?

We recommend fosters be flexible. Bringing a new animal into your home will put some demands on your schedule and your lifestyle. But, this will only be for a few weeks and it will be a very rewarding few weeks.

People with existing pets can also be great fosters. Many animals, especially shy and under-socialized cats, enjoy and benefit from the company of playful cat companions. Just please be prepared to keep your resident pets and foster kittens separated for the first two weeks the kittens are in your home. This will help ensure your kittens don’t have any diseases that can potentially be spread to your own pets. This will also help ease your foster kittens into home life.

Finally, all cat fosters are encouraged to be their cats’ biggest publicists and cheerleaders. You may not even know that a friend, relative, or colleague may be open to owning a cat until you announce that you have one.

What can CatCon attendees expect from the ASPCA “Kitten Lady Tells All” session?

We’re proud to partner with Hannah Shaw for the “Kitten Lady Tells All” CatCon session to educate cat-lovers about the care they can provide their own foster cats as well as for the cats in their communities.