Event to raise money to fix, re-home stray cats

Local volunteers help Operation: Snip to care for local stray cats and to find them new homes. PHOTO PROVIDED BY LYNN KOPKA

TROY >> Remembering to care for pets like cats is important any time of year, but people need to be especially aware during the winter.

Cats, either abandoned by their owners or born feral, suffer through the same below-freezing temperatures and snowfall with which humans contend, but the cats have to fend for themselves. And cats in the wild also continue to reproduce, only making the problem worse.

This is where Operation: Snip and Spaying Capital Region Unowned Feral Felines come in. The two organizations, staffed entirely by volunteers, trap, neuter and return feral cats off the streets of the region. Operation: Snip also rescues abandoned and stray cats and kittens as necessary.

Both organizations are in need of support to continue to save hundreds of cats each year. This year, Glennpeter Jewelers will be hosting a holiday soiree to benefit both groups from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at its Diamond Center at 1544 Central Ave. in Albany.

The party will have a cocktail party theme with gift baskets for the public to bid on. All money raised will go directly to the organizations.

“We look to this event each year to help build and continue our organization so that we can keep saving more cats throughout the Capital Region,” said Operation: Snip President Lynn Kopka, who is also a member of the Troy City Council.

Volunteer organizations like these, and the feline populations they serve, survive through the goodwill of people who recognize the humane mandate to care for the defenseless creatures in our midst, Kopka said. At no time are Operation: Snip and SCRUFF more needed than in the winter, when icy winds blow and threaten to break both human and feline spirits.

The organizations do not have any paid staff, relying on 10 to 20 volunteers depending on the events being held. But the work they do is important not only to the cats they help, Kopka said.

“If there are a lot of cats hanging around a neighborhood, it can become a health issue for the unattended cats,” she explained. “It wouldn’t be good for health reasons related to the stray cats, since the cats will continue to reproduce, creating more cats without resources.”

The organizations regularly gets phone calls from the community to report strays, and the calls keep coming.

“The demand continues to increase, but responses from the community has always been very good at helping our organizations,” Kopka said. “Operation: Snip has been a huge success in reducing the community cat population in Troy. Our partners at the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society in Menands and Saratoga; SCRUFF; Troy Veterinary Hospital and Animal Protective Foundation — as well as our extensive network of volunteers – have contributed to Snip’s ability to respond to increasing numbers of calls for assistance.”

By Nicholas Buonanno, nbuonanno@digitalfirstmedia.com, @NickBuonanno on Twitter

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