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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Local rescues unite to control cat population in Marion County

Local animal rescue groups and low-cost spay-neuter clinics have come together in an effort to reduce the cat populations in Marion County.

This collaboration, Cat Alliance from Tips to Tails (CATT Marion), serves as a local resource that aims to improve the overall welfare of cats within the community.

During the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting that was held on Tuesday, December 5, commissioners presented certificates of appreciation to the following organizations for their involvement with CATT Marion: the Humane Society of Marion County, Marion County Animal Services, Quality of Life Rehab & Foster, Sheltering Hands, and Voices of Change Animal League (VOCAL).

“We are so proud to have people in our community that are so dedicated to helping the welfare of our animals,” stated County Commission Chair Michelle Stone during Tuesday’s meeting. “The work these organizations do is immeasurable.”

CATT Marion targets colonies of 10 or more cats, and the cats are humanely trapped and housed prior to surgery. They are then brought to a surgical facility where they are spayed or neutered while also receiving their rabies and FVCRCP vaccines, flea control, and left ear tip.

The cats are then briefly housed for recovery before returning to their colony the following day.

Elena Goulet, representing Sheltering Hands, praised the dedication of the program partners. “It takes a lot of energy to do all that needs to be done to address our community cat population. And this team is amazing.”

Goulet noted that the group has spayed or neutered over 900 cats in 2023. For reference, just one female cat can produce up to 100 kittens in its lifetime.

CATT Marion’s advocates donate their time, supplies, and services at no cost to community cat caregivers in the name of lessening the impact of community cats in Marion County, and their efforts encompass more than just spaying and neutering.

“We can’t do this alone,” stated Marion County Animal Services Director Kyra Lynch. “We need help from the community – every rescue, every pet owner, every community cat caregiver – to make this happen.”

In addition to improving the quality of life for the community’s cats, CATT Marion’s efforts also help to reduce the strain on the county’s only publicly funded shelter. This program empowers residents with knowledge about responsible cat care, trap-neuter-release (TNR) practices, and the importance of humane and effective methods to address cat overpopulation.

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners recognizes CATT Marion’s advocates for their “hard work, unwavering dedication, and tireless efforts in addressing the pressing issue of cat overpopulation in Marion County,” according to a press release.

During Tuesday’s meeting, County Commission Chair Michelle Stone emphasized the increasing need in the local community for services like those provided by CATT Marion.

Stone proposed an agreement allotting $150,000 to the Humane Society of Marion County and VOCAL to enhance CATT Marion’s TNR program. This funding would supplement spay and neuter services, which average $130 per dog and $45 per cat, and require reports on the county’s investment throughout the phased disbursement process.

For more information, visit the CATT Marion webage or contact Marion County Animal Services at 352-671-8700.