Homeless Cat Management
The Homeless Cat Management Team works to control the population of feral cats in the South Side by setting out humane traps containing food to lure the cats in.
Once the cats are trapped, they are transported to the Animal Rescue League, where a team of veterinarians will spay or neuter the cats. Rabies shots, vaccines or medications are administered and the tip of the ear is clipped while under anesthesia as a marker for being spayed/neutered. This is a well-known way of detecting the sterilization of feral cats so that they are not trapped again for the same procedure.
The team has accomplished over 14,000 surgeries and that number grows with every month. With enough resources the team has been able to open their very own clinic and provide low cost spay and neutering twice a month to people who trap feral cats. There are not enough homes for all the stray kitties, so we must work together to spay and neuter. If we have no births, then we have no kill shelters. If we want to save a life, we must be responsible and get our pets spayed or neutered.Duquesne students volunteered on March 19 and 29, 2011, to help trap the cats and on March 20, participated in the spaying/neutering of the trapped cats.
"Science at the Service of Society is not solely volunteering; it is a method of teaching that combines classroom instruction with meaningful scientific service. I chose to work with the Feral Cat Project with Dr. Ludvico, and I learned much more than I expected and I gained much more experience than expected, as a science student, I was surprised how the community viewed me. The members of the community that assisted us in our cat trapping were so positive about our career choices. Sometimes science students are seen only as ‘nerds', or entirely surrounded by books, that they do not have the ability to focus on anything else. This was not the case on these projects however. The community members treated us with admiration, and were happy that our science knowledge helped them to achieve their goals.
Service Learning was an excellent opportunity for me to learn things in the classroom that I could use in external service projects. The class taught me much more than I expected, and I am glad I took the class."
-Krista Spear, Forensic Science and Law 2015
Service learning gave me the opportunity to put my love for animals to action. Not only did I get to accomplish something meaningful, but also I met amazing people and animals along my journey. Servicing learning taught me to lead by example, and always utilizing the positive deviance approach. Feral cats have touched my heart, and I hope I have made a small impact in HCMT's overall goal.
- Victoria Bain
Count Leo Tolstoy often commented on the movement of science in to the relm of "science for science's sake"; he emphasized the pitfalls of such a common conception held by many scientists, as well as laymen, outside of the field who believed that science's role purpose was to serve its own needs. Through our service learning project, it has become clear to us that the power of science should stand behind a much larger goal, the betterment of mankind.
In school, we often learn about the importance of a balanced ecosystem; if one aspect of the system is negatively impacted, it can in turn affect various environmental factors. By working with the Pittsburgh Feral Cat Project, we learned the importance of serving both humans and animals, as well as ensuring the protection of the environment in our community; through our efforts to further the scientific community's knowledge of these animals and how they affect the environment, we are also able to serve our fellow man.
- Ashley Peton