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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Aggie Cat Service helping feral felines on USU campus

By Megan Sonderegger

February 22, 2006 | Feral cats are freezing, starving and reproducing quickly at USU, said Whitney Milligan, a co-founder in the Aggie Cat Service.

She said she's got a solution to this problem -- trapping, spaying and neutering stray cats.

"The key (to this problem) is to prevent reproducing," Milligan said.

She said the Aggie Cat Service provides feeding areas for cats in order to maintain a territory where the habitual felines continue to feed. She said this allows for monitors to observe the cats continually and establish forms of trapping based on their breed.

"We withhold food for a day, and put food in the traps the following days when they're really hungry and willing to go for it," Milligan said.

She said after doing this they throw a blanket over the animal until it calms down and then they take the feline to Cache Meadows, where the surgeries are performed. Milligan said the veterinarian allows for female cats to stay overnight because their surgery is much more intrusive than surgery for males, and they have allowed for other possible days if further recovery is needed.

"Its surgery; we worry about them," Milligan said.

She said after the surgeries each cat has its ear tipped, which means a portion of their ear is clipped off, to help monitors to sort which cats have already had the surgery. She said the feeding grounds continue afterward and cats are able to enjoy a safe environment, food, water and insolated shelters.

Milligan said many of the cats they trap are tame and adoptable, and she feels that's because students and residents get cats and then abandon them. She said the cat service is creating brochures and Web sites to educate citizens about spaying and neutering as well as good ownership.

"Don't get a cat unless you're planning on keeping it for life," Milligan said.

Milligan said three feeding grounds have already been established and she urges volunteers to get involved in this program by working with the cat service in order to initiate further controlled cat colonies.

"We need to make life safer and happier for these poor cats," Milligan said.


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