I have to write about Daria Weber because she is the kind of person that I admire more than any other. She quietly gets on with her voluntary work with commitment and persistence, helping the community, not seeking reward except the knowledge that she is improving animal welfare. She deserves recognition.
Daria Weber has correctly been described as a “cat trapper extraordinaire”. She volunteers with Caring Fields Felines a no-kill sanctuary in Palm City, USA. She is contemplating retiring. Her community will miss her. She has trapped at least 5,000 cats in Stuart, Martin County, Florida. In doing so she has greatly reduced the number of cats without homes and the amount of suffering of cats who should not have been born.
She is clearly massively motivated. It breaks her heart to see kittens being dropped off at shelters in high numbers. She said “That’s what broke my heart”. She believes it doesn’t have to happen and the best way to stop it happening is to trap and neuter. The full process is ‘TNVR’, which stands for trap-neuter-vaccinate-return. She has been instrumental in the enactment of the Martin County TNVR ordinance. The county is involved in this voluntary work which is exactly the way it should be.
Weber has captured an average of 450 cats annually all of which had been put through the TNVR process. She has been described as a ‘force for good’. Exactly. She works in the right way by doing things such as telling the community what she’s doing.
Her method – tips on cat trapping
I’m going to pluck these from an article on Yahoo! News by Melissa E Holsman. I will present the points in bullet fashion.
- Weber works in an organised way in that she creates a grid of the area where she works so that she can tackle it systematically. The objective is to clean up an entire area in the most efficient way possible.
- She puts out flyers beforehand to warn residents that she is going to be trapping stray cats in the area. This helps residents to notify her of stray cats in the area. Also, the flyer asks residents to stop feeding the stray cats in the area for at least 12 hours to make them hungry to ensure that they are enticed by the bait that she puts down to get them into the trap.
- Stray cats are smart. When they see other cats being trapped they become “trap-shy”. They avoid the traps. The key, she says is cover a caged cat with a towel. This calms the cat and prevents others watching him/her being loaded into a car.
- When trapping cats, the person should stay there with the traps. They should not be left unattended. This is time consuming but once they are caught they need to be removed. This is to prevent other cats seeing a trapped cat.
- She does not leave traps unattended overnight for the same reason. It’s also cruel (my comment) to leave cats in a trap for many hours overnight especially in cold weather.
- The right bait is important. An experience taught her this. She normally puts down Friskies cat food. On one occasion it did not entice a cat to take the bait. The cat jumped into a dumpster instead. The cat returned with a big piece of garlic bread in her mouth! She went over to the local store and asked for some pulled pork. She put that into the trap and three of them took the bait 👍.
- Her record is trapping 33 cats at one location which took two weeks. When cats are returned to the area, she monitors them to see if any new cats or kittens appear.
- She wants to see no kittens with mothers. When she sees this, she knows that she has done a good job.
- If kittens show up, she knows that she has missed a mother and therefore she returns to trap that cat.
- As usual, the left ear is tipped to indicate a cat has been processed under the TNVR programme.
- Also as usual, kittens are rehomed rather than being returned.
- She works with three veterinarians in the area who volunteer surgery space for cats under these programs. They treat as many as 10 cats a day.
SOME MORE ON VOLUNTEERS:
Misleading note causes misunderstanding by TNR volunteers over ‘cessation’ of TNR funding by city council