January Franklinton Friday
By: Maria Bergman, Student Assistant for The STEAM Factory
The STEAM Factory welcomed the New Year with another paw-some evening for this month’s Franklinton Friday. Our theme of CatStravaganza welcomed feline friends from all over to take part in an evening of informative micro-lectures, delicious food, and engaging table activities. The building-wide cat event drew in large crowds as they were taken in by artwork, life-size cat mazes, and more. The STEAM Factory hosted 6 micro-lectures, live cats from The Cat Welfare Association, a table of puzzles from BAMM, the Buckeye Ah-a Math Moments, an activity from Leonard Sparks from COSI, and much more.
Dr. Jessica Quimby from the Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Internal Medicine, was our first presenter of the evening. Dr. Quimby told us what we need to know about Feline Chronic Kidney Disease. She taught us how to pay attention to our animals, to look out for the clinical signs and common symptoms of the disease. Moreover, how veterinarians use diagnostic testing, medical management, and supportive care to tailor an individual plan to take care of your furry friend. Dr. Quimby’s research lab is always taking in new subjects for her multiple clinical trials including those for a kidney diet study, aluminum levels, and use of Omeprazole or Gabapentin.
Doug Grotegeer from The Cat Welfare Association gave two micro-lectures throughout the night. The first shelter opened in 1953 and takes in about 1100 cats per year with currently 30 permanent residents. They are involved in more than just housing the cats, they also have some programs in place such as Crying cats and shy cat rooms. John Vlasko and Karla Rinto talked to us about volunteer opportunities with The Cat Welfare Association. They are always accepting volunteers to play with cats, be a greeter, or help with daily upkeep. The shy cat rooms help both the humans and the cats, the cats learn to get used to human presences, and it gives people a chance to practice reading, etc. He later went on to talk about FIV+ in cats. This growing cause is transmitted through deep puncture wounds among cats. Unlike some other shelters, this is not cause for immediate termination. The Cat Welfare Association has adopted out 116 cats with this diagnosis. After all, it is more about the cat’s temperament than it is about the disease, cats with this diagnosis can live alongside others without it.
Jay and Paula Matthew from The Cat Welfare Association spoke about why you should spay/neuter, as well as why TVNR, trap, neuter, vaccinate, return is the answer. There are over half a million community cats in Franklin County alone. An unspayed female cat and her mate with their offspring produce an average of 2.8 surviving kittens per liter at a rate of two litters a year. However, cats are now having 3 or 4 litters a year starting as old as 4 months. The TVNR method helps to reduce the ever-growing community cat population by having the public trap community cats in your area, taking them in to vaccinate and neuter them, and then releasing them back into the area. Organizations such as The Cat Welfare Association offer deeply discounted rates for neutering community cats.
Dr. Meg Daly from the Museum of Biological Diversity presented on the juvenilization of cats and why they make great pets. She opened with some information of evolutionary traits of cats, including some differences between wild and domestic cats. Scientists are making new discoveries by studying the DNA of archeological materials to understand more about cats. This helps with understanding the history of human association of cats. More so, that cats selected to live with us, we did not select them. Today, cats are the only domesticated obligate carnivore.
Overall, it was an un-furr-gettable night with food, friends, felines, and fun! Throughout the night we slipped in rounds of hisss-toric and fun cat-themed trivia questions. I hope we caught your interest like a cat catches a mouse, and that you’ll join us for next month’s Franklinton Friday.