Sarah Rogers’ lifelong passion for helping animals has evolved into Feral Change, a volunteer organization dedicated to Oakland’s feral and homeless cats.
Tucked into a corner of American Steel, Feral Change houses cats as they are being socialized, helps catch and neuter cats on the street, and works to educate the public about how to help. The organization is truly a labor of love run by Sarah and her dedicated volunteers who gently and patiently work with the cats and the community to effect change.
AS : Can you describe the mission of Feral Change?
SR : Oakland, like many cities, is currently unequipped to deal with feral unneutered cats who quickly breed. Unfortunately these waves of cats and kittens end up being taken to the city run animal shelter where due to the sheer number of them many end up being killed. Feral Change is one of several Bay area groups that practices TNR (Trap, neuter, return) as a way to help control this problem. Feral Change also works with a small group of feral cats and kittens (usually around a dozen) to help socialize them before they are placed in foster homes or put up for adoption. This intermediary step helps take the edge off the cats and gets them used to contact with people.
AS : How did you get involved in working with feral cats?
SR : I’ve cared for homeless cats since the tender age of eight when my first stray found his way to our front door. I became very involved with feral cats in the area after moving to Oakland in 2005. After the downturn in the economy, cities across the country saw a huge increase in the number of feral and homeless cats. Unaltered cats can multiply extremely fast, and a few unaltered cats can quickly turn into 50 within a few seasons.
AS : Why American Steel?
SR : I realized that to make the impact I wanted, I needed more space then I could accommodate at home. I called a number I saw on a lease sign (which was completely outdated) and reached Jon at Form and Reform, a nearby business. Even though I had the wrong number, Jon listened to what I was looking for and he told me I should call Karen at American Steel Studios. It turned out to be a great match with American Steel adopting several cats to assist with controlling mice and rats in the warehouse. The American Steel community has embraced the cat sanctuary with Sylvia and Robert of Brown Dirt Cowboys assisting in building enclosures for the cats and many neighbors stopping by to socialize and play with the cats.
AS : Are you open to the public?
SR : We are open to the public, but ask that you make an appointment before stopping by- we would be happy to introduce you to our cats if you are interested in adopting, volunteering, or finding out more about us.
AS : How else can people help?
SR : If you can’t adopt you can help by promoting the work being done through TNR, talking to friends and family about adopting a garden cat, or donating cat food, paper towels, or baby wipes – just no litter please!
You can also make a donation to Cat Town or Island Cat Resources and Adoption (ICRA) in our name, or find out more information on our website donation page!
Feral Change will be participating in the American Steel Holiday Faire December 5th, from 6 – 9pm and December 6th and 7th from 11am – 6pm.
Stop by to make a donation which will help neuter cats in low income areas and receive a handmade thank you gift (lots to choose from). You can also meet some of the cats up for adoption! Visit their website and Facebook page to find out more about the great work Sarah and her volunteers do!