In February 2013, the Kitsap Humane society launched a program to reduce the feral cat population in Bremerton. KHS calls them “community cats.”
The method (not without its critics) is trap-neuter-return. KHS vets say it’s documented to work in gradually reducing feral, pardon me, community cat colonies.
Adult feral cats can’t be socialized for placement as pets. The
past approach to eradication of feral cat colonies has been to trap
and euthanize the animals. But that doesn’t work well, according to
KHS veterinarian Jen Stonequist.
Because feral cats are territorial, eliminating members of the colony simply creates a void that is soon filled again by new cats – and their unchecked litters of kittens. The cats who live in these colonies are generally in poor health and carry disease.
“An effective TNR program works to stabilize the free-roaming cat population in a community by preventing new litters of unwanted kittens, and reduces feline illnesses by reducing mother-to-litter transmission and transmission by fighting,” said KHS Spokeswoman Rachel Bearbower. “It can also significantly reduce the noise and odor which arise from unaltered males fighting, mating, and marking territories.”
KHS officials estimate there are more than 2,200 feral cats in the 98366 area code, where the effort is focused.
The Community Cats Program, funded through a PetSmart grant
provides live traps and training on trapping to willing
Adults are neutered or spayed, and given a full check up and a rabies vaccine before they are reintroduced to their preferred neighborhood. A small mark on the ear prevents repeats. Kittens are taken into the humane society for placement as pets.
Over time the colony shrinks, as the animals are unable to reproduce.
The humane society also has a litter abatement program. If your pet has had a litter, you can bring the babies (dog or cat) to KHS. They will be spayed and neutered, and placed in “forever homes.” KHS also will spay the parent free of charge and return the animal to you.
Anyone with information about feral cat colonies in the Port Orchard area, or who is interested in volunteering for the Community Cats program, is asked to contact Kitsap Humane Society at CommunityCats@kitsap-humane.org or call 360-692-6977.