Friends of Felines of Cape Hatteras Island
is topic of radio show
of Felines of Cape Hatteras Island, a non-profit group whose mission is
to improve the lives of the feral and stray cats by providing a
low-cost spay/neuter program to humanely control the island's
population, was the topic of the Radio Hatteras Interview show, "To the
Point," on Sunday, Feb. 21.
The show is hosted by Island Free Press editor Irene Nolan, and the
guest for the discussion was Debbie Martin of Avon, the long-time
president and program manager of Friends of Felines.
Martin said she and her husband, Mike, realized that the island's cat
population was a problem shortly after they moved here in 1988 and
noticed several cats hanging around their new home.
"We're cat people," she said, so they decided to take some
action. The couple began spaying and neutering stray cats at
their own expense.
Martin became an admirer of Alley Cat Allies, a British non-profit that
supports a program to trap, neuter, and release (TNR) to control the
feral cat population. In 1990, the group brought TNR to Washington,
D.C., and today Martin calls the folks in Alley Cat Allies her
The effort to control Hatteras Island's feral cat population moved
slowly with just a few committed folks until 2006 when Martin got a
group together that eventually became Friends of Felines of Cape
Hatteras Island, which got its non-profit status in 2009.
In the past 10 years, she said, Friends of Felines has trapped and
spayed or neutered 2,000 feral cats on Hatteras Island.
She estimates the feral cat population on the island is still at about
1,000 to 1,500 cats -- free-roaming, community cats that live outside.
And she estimates that about 75 percent of them have already been
spayed and/or neutered.
Friends of Felines, she says, is finding it more difficult to locate
free-roaming cats that have not been fixed. She also said that a feral
cat colony in Avon that she has cared for has diminished over the years
from 10 or 12 cats, down to two.
Some of the feral cats live in colonies, she said, with
caretakers. Others, Martin notes are just cats that homeowners
feed because they hang around their houses.
Friends of Felines of Cape Hatteras Island, Martin says, remains
committed to helping islanders who are not able to trap and pay for
spaying and neutering cats. The group will trap cats and either
take them to be fixed or give the owner a voucher.
It also sponsors three clinics each year to round up and spay and
And the group remains committed to educating islanders and visitors
about the proper care of the island's cat population. For
instance, Martin said, that visitors love to feed the cats during the
short stay on Hatteras, but doing so is not good for the cats.
Friends of Felines pays for its work through donations, fundraisers,
and some small grants.
One its biggest fundraisers is a yard sale on Friday and Saturday of
Memorial Day weekend, which is May 27 and 28 this year. Look for
details on the group's Facebook page.
Martin also noted in the interview that Friends of Felines is
"thrilled" that Dare County has recently adopted a feral cat ordinance.
"We like the ordinance," she said. "In the past, we never had anything
Now, with the ordinance spelling out how the cats should be dealt with
by caretakers, Martin hopes that problems with the animals can be
addressed without bad feelings between neighbors and without the Dare
County Sheriff's Office having to be involved.
"I feel we can work together for the good of the cats," she says.
Friends of Felines needs donations and volunteers. More
information is available on the group's Facebook page or at its
The group is also available to help Hatteras residents with the cost of
spaying or neutering cats. Contact the group at [email protected].
For more information about the work of Friends of Felines of Cape
Hatteras Island and feral cats on Hatteras, listen to the interview.
Scroll down and click on the appropriate "To the Point" logo to listen
to the audio of the interview.
"To the Point" airs on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 ,
at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month. It is
repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on
Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at www.radiohatteras.org.
MORE ABOUT RADIO HATTERAS
Radio Hatteras is our community, non-profit radio station and depends
on grants, memberships, and underwriting.
It broadcasts around the clock with news -- including such things as
surfing and fishing reports -- community announcements, music, and
special programs. The station is also now streamed live. To listen, go
Our community radio station also needs your support, and you can give
that by purchasing a membership or by underwriting the station if you
are a business or another community non-profit.
Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual
and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to
Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.
E-mail [email protected]
or call (252) 995-6000 for information about underwriting opportunities.