Lifestyle Pets, Animal Welfare

Friends2Ferals Helps Regional Feline Community

Nancy Schneiter

By Natasha Anderson

Nancy Schneiter took over leadership of the Humane Society of Buncombe County in 2007 with a goal of reorganizing it to better meet the needs of the local animal community. She subsequently established the Friends2Ferals (F2F) program, the first Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) program in the county, and incorporated the previously existing High Hills Rescue and Rehab program.

“F2F has greatly reduced the community cat intake to the Buncombe County shelter over the last 16 years,” says Schneiter, “thus eliminating the need for euthanasia due to lack of space and providing a better quality of life for community cats and their caregivers.”

To date, Friends2Ferals has helped more than 15,000 cats through TNR, as well as by providing emergency medical services and food to community cats and, as much as possible, to those belonging to vulnerable populations including low-income residents, seniors on a fixed income and homeless individuals in Buncombe, Henderson and Madison counties. The organization also works with local animal shelters to find homes for abandoned pets and outdoor kittens.

Through TNR, cats are caught in humane box traps, spayed or neutered and vaccinated, then returned to where they were found. Female cats, who require a more complex procedure than males, receive their surgeries at the ASPCA, which allows ten surgeries per week for F2F. A private veterinary service is used for males, so the number is flexible. Kittens must weigh at least two pounds to undergo surgery. F2F provides traps and the training to use them, as well as lends carriers for cats that can be handled. Cats receive a rabies and distemper vaccination before they are released.

“We rely solely upon donations and grants to fund our program, which costs, on average, approximately $2,000 per week,” says Schneiter. “One of the most important things the public can do to assist us with our mission is to donate via our website or Facebook page.”

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