Herding CatsAugust 13th, 2010 by Chris Henry
It’s that time of year when cats breed at lightening speed,
resulting in litters of unwanted kittens … unwanted at least from a
human point of view.
In today’s Kitsap Sun, you’ll see a Code 911 item about one East Bremerton couple who took matters into their own hands, bought a live trap and rounded up kitties in their neighborhood for deposit at the Kitsap Humane Society.
The couple advised neighbors at a meeting that they would photograph each cat, so that pet owners could see if their cats had been swept up with the strays.
Not everyone applauded their efforts. One neighbor, who collected his cat from the Humane Society, approached the couple’s home with a baseball bat and now could face charges.
Reminds me of a story I wrote in 2008 about Linda Dennis, a Bremerton woman on a mission to reduce the feral cat population. Only instead of shipping cats she caught in a live trap to the humane society, she collected donations to get them fixed and returned them to the neighborhoods from which they came.
Dennis has worked in conjunction with Seattle’s Feral Cat Project, which offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. The theory of the organization — and folks like Dennis — is that the neutered and spayed cats returned to their home will stake our territory and so prevent new strays from moving in.
No doubt stray cats are a problem. We used to have neighbors on either side who fed them. Looking across the fence, I would see hoards of mangy little faces peeking our suspiciously from under the one neighbor’s deck. The smell of cat feces wafted our direction, and I once found a deformed dead kitten in our kids’ playhouse.
One of the kittens that wandered into our yard eventually became our family pet. After we decided to keep the little guy, however, it took a lot of care to get him in shape. For one thing, he was so covered in fleas that they were visibly crawling all over his face and into his eyes. And yes, we did get him neutered.
If you have stray cats in your neighborhood, how have you dealt
with it? Has your approach, like the East Bremerton couple’s,
caused conflict? What do you think is the best way to handle the
problem of pet overpopulation — other than the obvious, everyone
spay and neuter their animals?
Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, Seattle; (206) 528-8125; www.feralcatproject.org
Coalition: HUMANE, Tacoma (formerly Peninsula Spay Neuter Clinic); (253) 627-7729; www.coalitionhumane.org
Animal Welfare Organizations
Kitsap Humane Society; (360) 692-6977; www.kitsaphumane.org
A.R.F. (animal rescue families); (360) 698-6576; www.animalrescuefamilies.org
PAWS of Bainbridge Island (cats only); (206) 842-2451; www.pawsbainbridge.org
PAWS of Bremerton; (360) 373-7043; www.pawsofbremerton.org
R.E.D. (rescue every dog); www.rescueeverydog.org
The Big Dog Project; (360) 434-2364;