Some never tire of re-runs.  My sister drifts off nightly with “Friends,” of which my favorite character is Phoebe Buffay or ‘Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock’, her favorite alias.

Kooky, musically talented, and full of surprises, Phoebe’s unique take on life makes me LOL.  Her coffee shop debut of “Smelly Cat” is hilarious but sad:

Smelly cat, smelly cat what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat it’s not your fault!

They won’t take you to the vet.
You’re obviously not their favorite pet.
You may not be a bed of roses,
And you’re no friend to those with noses.

Smelly cat, smelly cat what are they feeding you?
Smelly cat, smelly cat it’s not your fault!

Cat lovers recognize her depiction.  Smelly Cat is an unfixed community cat, grabbing any meal or rodent available, enduring parasites of all types, untouched by helping human hands.

One of every three homes has a cat.  Thanks to shelter medicine and the science behind trap-neuter-return (TNR), more cats nationwide are now adopted from a shelter (31%) than are adopted as strays (27%).  Haywood County has one of 350,000 shelters across the nation.

Despite a downward trend since 2011, over 3 million cats enter shelters every year with the great majority as strays.  To make room for more, 860,000 will be euthanized – over nine times the number of cats redeemed by owners.

Smelly Cat is probably a male since Phoebe doesn’t mention the cat’s littered past.  June is  Adopt A Shelter Cat Month, held at the height of ‘kitten season’.  But we can do more to reduce the 800+ cats entering Haywood County’s shelter each year.

Juvenile spay/neuter prevents the first litters of six-month-old kittens impregnated at four months.  If most kittens were fixed before first heat, then shelter intakes would plummet.  That’s LUYE’s TNR mission for kittens and for community cats like Smelly. More eartips, fewer litters.  That doesn’t stink at all, does it?

This article by our Head Cat, Susan Kumpf, was originally published in the June 2021 issue of Vicinitus Haywood as “More Eartips, Fewer Litters”.