Knoxville has come a long way in making our city a more pet friendly place. Dog parks continue to be constructed around the city, and restaurants continue to be added to the list of pet-friendly establishments.
Another organization supporting the pets in our community is the Companion Animal Initiative in Tennessee, or CAIT for short. CAIT is part of the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and is a network of professionals and volunteers who focus on legislation, education, and sterilization. They provide a wide variety of programs for veterinary students, animal professionals, and the general public.
CAIT was established as an initiative of the nine-county “One Vision” task forced formed in 2000 to explore how to make the East Tennessee region a better place to live. When investigating local citizen’s main concerns, animal welfare ranked fifth on the long list. CAIT now provides a variety of programs including providing education for vet students on shelter medicine, monitoring animal related legislation, and sitting up spay-neuter clinics for feral cats. CAIT currently sterilizes and vaccinates over 400 feral cats each year in an effort to reduce the surplus of homeless animals in Tennessee.