In just over 4 years Community Cats United has grown globally with over 23,000 members. Beth Frank shares with us how she started the group, their accomplishments to date and what they are focusing on next. To learn more about community cats and how Beth is focusing on spay/neuter clinics please listen in. They are doing wonderful things for the community cats that are out there! You can reach her through the Facebook group @CommunityCatsUnited.
Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where a goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, Beth Frank joins us from Community Cats United, which was started in 2014. The vision of community cats united is to advance the status of community cats up lis shelter, medicine, encourage TNR support their members and areas of cat rescue an advocacy, and to reduce the number of community cats and ease the plight of unknown cats everywhere. And their first year, they had 5200 members and 725 groups, and they were in 68 countries around the world and in all 50 states. Hey, Beth, Thanks for coming on the program today. Thank you for having me. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about you? And obviously, how you got into animal rescue? I’ve loved animals all my life and I became involved with communicates in particular through a contest that was, Ah, nationwide contest run for America’s favorite vet. And I am nominated, um, by local that who does span moved her for free in our county, which is pretty unheard of. She I should give her a showed Oh, that’s Dr Tina Ragin back. What part of the country you guys in bed? Michigan. Okay. And through that I was trying to help her get her name out. I was going on Facebook, contacting tea and our group’s How much better could it be to have the teen, our vet, you know, be the winner and exposed t and R to the whole world? Right in going through all that, I started to see that there’s so many Teen are groups, but nobody is connected. And that’s when I started our group, which we are original Group was trap neuter return community. Okay. And we’ve expanded since that. So now you’ve expanded. So tell us of it. Is that where it morphed into community Can’t united? Yes, because we want incorporate. We were growing so fast and we had things we wanted to do where we would want to get donations and they have sort of thing. So we incorporated under communicates united ink, and we are now a five a one c three nonprofit. We’re an all volunteer organization. No one gets paid here. And how many groups can really say that? Every 100% of what they raise those directly to the project right now. That’s awesome. So now you started. This community can’t united in, what year? 2014. September. Okay, And then how did things grow from there? I was really overwhelmed by the response chomp. Every day I would take and send out maybe 5 to 10 invitations to join the group. Um, that were tea, and our group said I was reaching out to People were joining like crazy and I just had unbelievable growth. That’s awesome. So how big given everybody? A perspective is to how big it is now. We now have over 23,000 members over 1000 groups in 110 countries in all 50 U. S. States in less than four years. That is amazing growth. Congratulations on that. Wow. Thank you. And when you think that it’s communiqu, it’s, you know It’s not a general topic like real of the animals. It’s really awesome to see the numbers where they are absolutely now. So are you guys primarily a. In a Facebook group? Do you have a website? Tell us a little bit about how you run your operations. We have, ah, several Facebook groups and pages unique. It’s United Inc is our main page, but we have the group that that we originally started with trap neuter return community and the numbers I gave you were for track new to return community. Only that doesn’t include any of her other pages. So we have quite a few people on our other peaches as well. We have a fundraising when we have rescue. Um, we have special needs cat the of all kinds of topics. And we have administrators. I need to the pages that are experts in that area that will help anybody. That means hope with these acts. Very cool. So now what is your goal with this? What? What is the goal of community cats? United the goal and our mission is always been basically to, um, help the cats and help the people who helped the cats And that’s what we keep in mind Every time we do something, we’re just trying to help, because communicates get a bad rap, and, uh, they’re they’re actually victims. Um, us, we as humans, we we actually abandoned these cats. Um, somebody moved and didn’t take. Um, let him outside. They can fend to themselves. And, yes, that’s possible. But it creates more of a problem because most times they haven’t been spayed and neutered, so they get out there, they start reproducing. Can’ts can reproduce very quickly. And now we have more kits. And for decades, we’ve used the trap and kill method trap him. And then we put him to sleep. And that hasn’t worked. If it had worked, we wouldn’t keep having growth in our population of communicates that are out there. So that’s why T and our trap neuter return is such an important program for everybody to get going so that we can stop the overpopulation humanely, right? Absolutely. Now. So you started reaching out basically to try and unite all of these different community cat tnr groups across the country, as you said in and around the world. And that was to share best practices to support one another. Yes, that’s one thing that was really lacking was these people were feeling a silly that they felt they had no backup, no support. Well, now that’s at the case, because we will help on them. Anybody wants to start a T in our program, we’d be more than happy to help you do that. There’s even people who will feed the cats, and they’re doing a great thing by feeding the kids. But they don’t have the money to get him fixed. So that’s where we can help. Also, not so much with money to pay for that stuff. But we have such a network for a grass roots network that help each other. And if you’re in this city and state, we have people there we can contact and they can. Network locally did help you get the cats fixed, and now that’s great. And definitely I’m sure that the resource is air desperately needed. Um, just trying to join people together like you said, and give them the resource is point them in the right direction. Yes, I always say strength in numbers and it is so true, right? Yeah. I noticed I mean, you guys have obviously community can’t united Facebook groups and and all of the states And so people can join one of those groups and get some support in their local area. Yes, and we also encourage people to post fundraisers that they’re having. Um, we also encouraged, like, spay and neuter clinics when they run specials. Please post about the state pages so people could go there and find it. And it’s not only for communicates our state pages of we allow dogs and regular cats. Two things for them. Interesting. So now this morphed into something else. It’s called the community. Can’t movement tell us a little bit about that? Munich can’t. Movement is our educational wing, and there’s all tens of information. We have a separate website for it. It’s all kinds of information, and it’s W W. W. That community can’t movement that board, and it’s basically like the library for TNR. It’ll explain a lot of subjects and that sort of thing. Every month we celebrate and we’ve done this since the beginning. Every month we celebrate a different aspect of Tien are in junior celebrating rescuers, but every month is the subject and it’s 10 inmates to recognize people and let people see that user teen marriage, Not just one thing. It’s a whole bunch of different things put together. Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really cool that you’re doing that because, as you pointed out, I mean, you know, people often think about animal rescue and it’s his big movement and then tea and ours a subset of that. But even within tnr, there’s all sorts of needed rules that different people can play. Absolutely. You don’t have to be active and going out trapping. It’s nice to get trappers. There’s people who transport. They’ll go out and pick up the cats and they’ll take him to the vet. No, bring them back. There’s people who work in the vet clinics and help out there, Um, even doing like posters that they can put out there on the Internet. That hey, we’re having a clinic here, you know, and bring your cat dinner or whatever. You can sit at home and you can just share post. We post often different things about where were involved in trying to get tea and are in, or hope cat center in a bad situation. all you have to do is share in your help. Yeah, absolutely. It’s not just all about donations. And with us in until February of this year, we had that done any fundraising, it all Really? Yeah. Which is unusual, who we focused and building the network and that this network is really a great thing because you see people coming together from all over making suggestions, helping each other. If you’re new, there’s a bunch of people in there that really no t and R, and they’ve been involved in it for a year, so it just helps row the movement. Yeah, and I definitely agree with you that working together and supporting one another because, you know, there’s as you mentioned, everybody doesn’t always have all the resource is in the knowledge, but they’re certainly the desire. And there’s other like minded people out there that are willing to help. Yes, that’s really cool. So walk me through. I mean it. This sounds like this is a full time job for you now. Oh, it’s taken a lot of time, but, you know, it’s been a labor of love than seeing so many cats being help. Now that wouldn’t help before is really rewarding thing. Yeah. What is the typical week look like for you? I’m on the computer a lot. Okay. We kind of fly by the seat of our pants. When somebody posts that I am having a problem here, they wantto they want my kids move. My colony needs to go. And, you know, I’ve been feeding them and there’s never been a problem. Will reach out to these people and try to help, um, help them with whoever is giving the problem. And it’s amazing how many different situations and there are about these cats. It seems like cancer, the lowest end of the totem pole as faras animals go. And they sure they should pick on the community cats a lot because the vulnerable and they have no voice. Well, that’s changed. Now they do that voice When, when you think about some of the groups and organizations that you’re helping, what are some of the biggest challenges that they have? Money is always number one. If we had a lot of money, the amount of CASS it could be fixed would be unbelievable. And that would also reduce the population in a humane manner. The cats don’t have to be killed, it can be worked with. And if we had been doing T an arm for the last several decades, we wouldn’t be looking at this problem today. But it’s hard to convince some people who are have their mindset that, well, there’s nothing else we could do. We have to trap remotely, have to kill him. No, we don’t know. I think you’re exactly right. The education side of this is is really important and that it’s a preventative measure. This is not something that needs to be punitive. Yes, and you know, there’s I look at it that there’s a formula in the last half of the formula is T and R and all the things that go along with that. But the first half of the formula is the education. If people understood that, you need to get their animals spade and moving. Um and they understand TNR. If we could get that out to the public, how much this would change would be amazing. Tell me about this coding book that you’ve created. That’s an interesting way to try and educate people. Yes, it’s not only for adults It’s also for Children. Um and we made it that way. It’s the story of t and r and it 28 pages and the illustrations were done by Sue Birch. And she did a wonderful, wonderful job. And all these all the aspects of teen are are in there. How the trap, Um, how they transport, how what happens in the vet clinic? What happens after the surgery and this sort of thing And it really does give just a basic overview of Tien are now. When did you launch this? Comparable? Um, it was about a year ago. Okay, this has been very successful. Oh, we had a lot of good response on it. Yes, that’s great. Is it so different? Yeah. No, that’s what I liked about it as well as it’s something that’s unique. You don’t see that a lot and you know, kudos to you for kind of coming back to something that was done years ago because it’s now it’s innovative in in what’s going on. Everybody is so much focused on social media, but having something tangible really can change the game. Yes. So, Beth, what’s next for the community? Can’t movement and for committee can’t united. In February of this year, we launched our fixed finder project for companion the Animals. In the beginning, we’re focusing and community cat’s toe help get funds so that people can get more Cats fits, and we eventually want to grow into companion animals. Dogs and cats included. Um, fix Finder is a two part project, one being availability. We have a database we’re creating, that members are adding the clinics in their areas to this database, which is, I think, rather unique this way. And this way we’re gonna have even the small cities will have thin so many times that the other bases will have the larger cities. But small ones have nothing. This, we hope, will help change that. And we also on the availability. We have a website for Fix Finder, which is the B w w that fix finder dot or there’s a foreman there that you can go and easily submit your clinic. It does low cost spay and neuter orgy in our spin and neuter. The second part of it is the affordability, and this is a big part of a too. So we started our very first fundraising effort to put money into the fund to pay for these span neuters, or at least helped to pay for it. And we have a PayPal account set up donation buttons on our website and on our pages. Um, that’ll take you right to the paper trail and you could make a donation. 100% of the money will go into the fund to spay and neuter, and we hope to build their funds so we can really make a change in the lives of these animals. Yeah, the fixed finders. A really cool idea. Like you said, I know it’s It’s difficult for groups sometimes to find low cost spay, neuter and kudos, obviously to the vets and the other organizations that are offering these surfaces. But I’m sure awareness and getting the word out that they offered the service is it’s got to be part of the challenge. Absolutely well, Beth, this is all really cool and very, you know, very cool what you’re doing. And kudos to you for everything you’ve built, is there? Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we wrap things up today? I’ll just say that if you have cats in your neighborhood and you care about them. Wanna help? Um, if you don’t know how to do, they can’t detect us. You can reach me at, um, e mail, which is maybe kids united at yahoo dot com. I’m on Facebook. You can count. Taken personally any of her pages you can contact us through. We’ve been more than happy to help you and stand with you and get this thing going. If you’re fighting City Hall, we’d like to help him fight it. It’s amazing what when people find out there’s 23,000 people you hadn’t in our that tends to make people listen a little bit more. Yeah, absolutely. There’s definitely I think you said it early on. There’s there’s strength in numbers and we have to support each other. What’s well, Beth, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us. We really appreciate it and thank you. Sure, you remove the opportunity to talk about other cats and help him hopefully spread the word so that more kids could be hope. Absolutely. Well, we’ll make sure the list the contact information and obviously people can search for community cats united in any of the Facebook groups that you have, and we look forward to having you on again in the future. Okay, thank you. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast if you’re not already a member, joined the Air P A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. 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