Cats can’t add or subtract, but they sure can multiply, right?
Every spring, hundreds of kittens are born in Fayette County — under porches, under bushes, in garages. Many of those kittens end up at the Fayette Regional Humane Society (FRHS), where over 100 are in the shelter program right now.
FRHS is a no-kill shelter, but, throughout the United States, nearly one million cats are euthanized in shelters every year (this number has dropped significantly in the past 20 years). At least an equal number of homeless cats die of starvation, disease or injury.
So, what can community members do to help? Of course, FRHS wants the cats in its adoption program right now to find homes, and homes will be found for over 1,000 cats in 2020. But there is so much more to do. How can the unending flow of kittens be slowed down?
The first step is spay/neuter of owned cats.
FRHS has a spay/neuter clinic open to the public, with special reduced fees for income-qualifying pet owners. Sterilization stops some of the more obnoxious behaviors of intact cats and sure makes male cats smell better!
Next, the breeding of homeless cats must be stopped, according to FRHS. A kitten born to a homeless mom has only a 25 percent chance of living to its first birthday, and the overwhelming majority (95 percent) of feral cats will not be adopted from a shelter, as they are not accustomed to people.
Even more than that can be done, and FRHS does this through a program called “Trap, Neuter, Return.” Homeless cats are trapped and spayed or neutered. FRHS also gives them a rabies vaccine and removes the tip of their left ear to identify them. The cats are then returned to their home territory.
When 80 percent of the cats within a specific territory are sterilized, the population will stabilize — decreased illness and death, fewer kittens, less disruptive behavior, and the cats live longer with a better quality of life. The FRHS Trap, Neuter, Return Program will help community members to trap and supply food for cat colonies they may be caring for.
Individuals can change the world for cats. Spay and neuter, adopt, donate time and money to local shelters. Please call the Fayette Regional Humane Society for more information at 740-335-8126.