It’s time again for me to thank people I never see.

We have a group of concerned citizens who help us more than any of us likely will ever know. They don’t have meetings or officers or anything official like that.

I’m talking about the people who take the time and money to spay and neuter cats around their homes.

Some of these folks bring said cats inside and love them for the remainder of their lives.

Some of these folks maintain outside strays, and make sure they have food and water and rabies shots, and are spayed and neutered so they don’t make any more cats.

Some of these folks have actual cat colonies that consist of mostly feral cats that they pay to keep healthy and fed and cared for.

These are the people that take care of cats who never come to the shelter.

These are the people who – out of their own pockets – pay for the services necessary to care for the animals.

I never see these folks. They take cats into their homes or their colonies and never reach out to the shelter.

They are absolute, beyond a shadow of a doubt, heroes in my mind, and I very rarely ever get a chance to see them, let alone say thank you.

A volunteer for the shelter is working on getting the cats fixed who showed up outside her home recently. She’s doing this out of her own pocket because she cares about animals, and she knows that if they are allowed to reproduce, the numbers will quickly get out of control.

So far, she has spayed and neutered four of the six or seven cats around her home.

Thankfully, I am able to express my appreciation to her, but it frustrates me that I’m not able to say thank you to others like her doing the same thing.

So if you are one of those people, thank you so very much. I truly don’t have words to adequately express how grateful I am to you and all you do.

If you know people who do this, please tell them I said thank you and express the sentiments above.

The bottom line to managing pet overpopulation is spaying and neutering.

And for anyone who has fed an outside cat, you know how very quickly those numbers can multiply. I’m always shocked by how many times a female cat can get pregnant in a year and how many kittens she can have per litter.

I know it’s difficult to see the stray cats outside – there are some outside my house who get fed every day (and are pretty much spayed and neutered) – but feeding them just isn’t enough.

We have to make certain that they are spayed and neutered so the numbers don’t get too big to handle.

We are starting to see the litters of kittens come into the shelter. It’s only just begun. (Thank you Karen and Richard Carpenter.)

In the summertime, we are always jammed full of cats at the shelter, and it’s the springtime when they are out making the babies that we will have to find homes for in the coming months.

I’m very proud that the shelter has held a monthly spay and neuter clinic for the past few years to help our local residents spay and neuter their cats.

I’m also incredibly grateful for the people who are doing this themselves.

Animal welfare is not a fight that can be done individually. It takes a whole lot of people working toward a common goal to make a difference in an animal’s life.

I’m so grateful that the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter exists where we do. This community is generous and helpful, and truly loves animals.

To everyone who is out there fighting for them: thank you so very much.

Especially those of you whom I never see.



Jennifer Vanderau is the Director of Communications for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, and can be reached at: The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at: (717) 263-5791, or visit the website: CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.


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