There are twelve points in Scout Law upheld by all Boy Scouts, and the Cleveland APL recently saw the embodiment of the “kind” requirement in Chris Vogt’s actions to help animals. As part of Chris’s advancement toward the highly respected rank of Eagle Scout, he chose a creative service project to help some of the most misunderstood, deserving beings in our community – feral cats.There are tens of thousands of feral, or wild, cats in the Cleveland area, and as the winter weather arrives many of these animals will be desperate for shelter. Chris, with the assistance of five other scouts from Troop 411 of Sharon Center, his father James Vogt, D.V.M. and his grandfather, stepped forward to help these animals by building specially designed “cat houses” to keep them sheltered. Now, five compassionate colony caretakers who are using the Cleveland APL’s Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) services will receive a cat shelter built by Chris and the other scouts. These elevated wooden houses have an entrance at one side that will allow a cat to go around an interior corner to a compartment where body heat will help them to survive the frigid Northeastern winters; cedar chips or straw can be added to increase the comfort. Chris’ shelters also feature a removable top to assist with cleaning the interior. The shelters will help feral cat caregivers provide warmth and protection to the cats in the colony they’re managing. “Lending a helping hand to cats who can’t be socialized and will never know the pleasure of a lap or the stroke of a human hand is surely a selfless and model act of citizenship for all of us,” said Sharon Harvey, Cleveland APL Executive Director; “We’re thrilled that Chris and the other future leaders from Troop 411 have taken such compassionate action.”Chris and his project came to the Cleveland APL by way of one of Cleveland’s best know animal advocates, FOX8 Weatherman Dick Goddard. When asked which organization would most benefit from this kind of project, Mr. Goddard enthusiastically pointed Chris and his father, a veterinarian, to the Cleveland APL. From there, all it took was a little guidance on specifications from Cleveland APL Spay/Neuter and TNR Services Coordinator Marta Anderson and Chris and his fellow Scouts were off and building!
For anyone who would like to be a part of stopping the breeding of feral cats in their neighborhood, the Cleveland APL offers a TNR program and education. Participants will learn how to humanely trap feral cats, transport them to the APL clinic where they are sterilized and vaccinated for rabies and other infectious feline diseases, return them to their familiar habitat, and then provide them with ongoing, humane care and colony management. The fee for surgery and vaccination is just $40.
For more information about the Cleveland APL’s TNR program, call Marta Anderson, Cleveland APL Spay/Neuter and TNR Services Manager, at 216.771.4616; ext. 124 or to learn more about the APL’s program and other programs in the area, visit www.clevelandapl.org/tnr