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Nancy Fahnestock from CSM Stray Foundation and her doggie assistant Leo teach Port Washington students about humane animal treatment and pet adoption. (Photo by Carole Milker)

Nancy Fahnestock from CSM Stray Foundation and her doggie assistant Leo teach Port Washington students about humane animal treatment and pet adoption.

Photo by Carole Milker

NYC Eartips: Spring 2009

CSM Stray Foundation Feral Cat School Program

by Nancy Fahnestock, CSM Stray Foundation

This summer, CSM Stray Foundation has been invited back to work with 4th–8th grade students in the "At Last Summer Program" in Port Washington, Long Island. This program provides us with an opportunity to introduce students to important animal issues and motivate them to treat animals humanely.

For last year's program, we brought Leo, a rescue dog, to meet the students. (We couldn't bring a feral cat, so Leo stood in for his dog and cat buddies.) We distributed Mayor's Alliance materials to the students explaining where to adopt a dog or cat. We demonstrated how to locate an animal to adopt on Petfinder.com, and we reviewed an adoption application.

This year we will again talk about pet adoption and responsible pet care, but will also focus on feral cats. Our topics will include what to do when you see an outdoor cat, how to humanely trap an outdoor cat (as part of a Trap-Neuter-Return program), and how to socialize a feral kitten. We will use a trap and a mock cat for the demonstration, and students will receive hands-on experience in setting the trap. We'll also show the students films and explain how to care for a colony of outdoor cats. And we'll send them home with information for their parents about who to contact if they find a colony of feral cats.

Any school interested in having our program in their classroom may contact Nancy at csmstray@aol.com.

About the Author

Nancy Fahnestock is the Treasurer of CSM Stray Foundation (USA) Inc. She began her work with feral cats in 1994, trapping and spay/neutering local cats for seniors in Queens. As a NYC licensed teacher, Nancy has always brought humane education into the classroom, and, though now retired, she still visits local classrooms on behalf of CSM Stray Foundation, promoting responsible pet care and feral cat issues. In 2008, Nancy worked with students in a summer program in Port Washington, where she introduced them to her adopted rescue dog Leo and emphasized the need for giving homes to shelter animals. She has written numerous grants for feral cat programs, including low-cost spay/neuter certificates for seniors, feral cat colony care, and senior shelter building programs. She regularly transports feral cats to and from the vet for senior caregivers. At the Feral Cat Caretaker Boot Camp! in December 2008, Nancy and CSM Stray Foundation colleague Carole Milker demonstrated how to use a drop trap.