A stray cat made all the difference to third-year veterinary student Christina Cicerchi. It had wandered into her family’s Colorado yard, hungry, scruffy and spray-painted blue. Fifteen years later, her first memory of “little blue Carlitos” still fuels Cicerchi’s passion for keeping lots more unwanted kittens from suffering neglect or abuse.
Cicerchi is co-president of the student-run ISU Feral Cat Alliance, a volunteer organization that spays and neuters feral cats to help control their burgeoning population.
It’s an urgent matter. Feral cats are estimated to number in the tens of millions nationwide. They harbor disease, decimate wildlife and face much suffering themselves. They are especially common in farm states like Iowa.
Cicerchi and her co-president Kristin Cairns, are gratified to help provide a humane solution. Along with other veterinary students, they run all aspects of the free clinics, from intake and prep, to anesthesia and surgery.
“It’s a great opportunity to practice surgery in a controlled situation with faculty helping us through the process,” Cairns says.
Carlitos – who turned out to be orange and still lives with Cicerchi’s parents – would approve.
by Susan Flansburg
Reprinted from Forward