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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Japan Cat Network seeks help in Tokyo expansion project

Staff report

American Susan Roberts, of the Kansai-based Japan Cat Network, met with a dozen interested persons March 8 in Tokyo as part of the animal welfare group's expansion to the capital and its plans to open a cat rehoming center in west Tokyo's Hachioji.

News photo
Trapped with love: Susan Roberts of Japan Cat Network (right) on March 8 in Tokyo exhibits traps used by the group and its volunteers in TNR (trap, neuter, return) projects to help stop the unnecessary suffering of stray animals ULARA NAKAGAWA

Roberts explained the group's activities, exchanged views and ideas with the animal-loving people at the meeting. All current residents in Japan, participants hailed from some six countries. Their common ground — a keen desire to ease the suffering of animals in their areas.

Roberts and her husband, fellow American David Wybenga, have been instrumental in helping stray cats through the couple's TNR projects carried out over the past 14 years.

TNR, or trap, neuter and return, has been proven to help reduce the population and the suffering of stray and feral cats by returning them (except for kittens and injured or sick animals) to their original living area after they are neutered.

The method works because the cats' territory remains secured and other animals won't move in. Populations are thus stabilized and maintained, resulting in better health and less suffering for the animals, less annoyance, frustration and mental anguish for humans.

The plan to open the Tokyo rehoming center means healthy, rescued kittens from the base shelter in Kansai will have more of a chance at adoption.

With the backup of the rescue and rehabilitation effort at the main shelter and an office at the Tokyo center, inquiries from Tokyo-based people on starting TNR projects and rescue efforts will be more easily fielded.

It will be easier to "connect people to groups in their areas and provide information and support to the expat community, which might not have access to the animal welfare information available to the Japanese public," explains Roberts.

Japan Cat Network needs help in any number of ways. "We need people who could drive or people who could take cats to vets, and people to assist others who need this kind of specific help for their own projects," says Roberts.

"We can train people who want to start projects and we are also looking for volunteers able to provide carpentry assistance for building a kitten play area, and to help organize fund raisers." Donations of dishes, toys, bed, cages, kitten food etc. are also welcome

Anyone with a desire to help, please contact Japan Cat Network at info@japancatnet.com or see the group's Web site at www.japancatnet.com for more information. Tel: (English) 090-6058-8102 or (Japanese) 090-8525-2584.


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