Feral cats need our help

When my husband and I opened our new business, Blue Arrow Records, on Waterloo Road in North Collinwood last March, we were oblivious to the large number of feral homeless cats struggling desperately to survive within a few blocks. It didn’t take long until I noticed kittens and adults roaming the neighborhood looking for food. There was a poorly managed colony near our building, where someone was feeding the cats, but not tending to their other physical needs, which was very upsetting to me since there were several sick kittens. (Feeding cats only keeps them healthy enough to breed rapidly….a pair of cats can produce 2 or more litters per year and the math gets crazy after that.)

I have been fortunate to make contact with a group of concerned residents in the Euclid Beach area, who are volunteering their time and money to manage several feral cat colonies and I have learned a lot about not only managing a colony, but how to REALLY help these cats as well as our community.  

In neighborhoods throughout Cleveland, trap-neuter/spay-return programs (TNR) have proven to be effective in humanely managing feral and stray cats, while at the same time reducing their numbers. With TNR, the cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, ear-tipped and, if they’re feral, returned to their original territories. A trained caretaker then provides food and shelter, and watches for problems or newcomers. (The friendly cats and kittens are put up for adoption.)

After being sterilized and returned to their territory, feral cats no longer reproduce, so the number of cats will not increase. There will be a reduction in noise – no more crying cats in heat and no more fighting. The cats will roam far less, making them less visible.  There is also less of a chance for the spread of feline leukemia. Most importantly, there will be no more sick and suffering cats and kittens. All of this will benefit our neighborhood.

It is time to implement TNR in North Collinwood. Whether or not you are an animal lover, we have a responsibility to each other and our community. As of November 23, 2009, the APL began a program to spay/neuter cats and kittens for $10 after receiving grants from Petsmart Charities and the City of Cleveland. If you are feeding a cat outside, please be a part of the solution and call the APL for more information 216-377-1624 on the trap-neuter/spay-release program. If you aren’t able to do the hands-on work, maybe you would like to make a tax deductible donation to our new organization called "The North Collinwood Feral/Stray Cat Project" through Northeast Shores Development Corp. 317 East 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110 to help us with the work we already started.

"Lucky Sunshine" was rescued on Waterloo; very sick and very hungry, but doing great now in his new home! 
Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 3:58 PM, 01.14.2010