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Wednesday, July 17, 2019



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Shelter groups working to reduce cat overpopulation

Shelter groups working to reduce cat overpopulation


The Lafourche Animal Shelter and its partner nonprofit Lafourche Animal Society are working to control the stray cat population in the parish, especially in the central and southern areas.

The Community Cat Program involves trapping stray cats, getting them spayed or neutered by local veterinary clinics, clipping one of their ears and releasing them back into the community.

The clipped ear is a nationally recognized sign that the cats have been spayed or neutered and should not be brought back to the shelter unless injured, Animal Shelter Manager Hilary Knight Detillier said.

“We hate to see these types of stray cats brought back to a shelter situation,” shelter advisory board member Faye Adams said.

Volunteers with the Lafourche Animal Society are running the program with the help of private donations, grants and local veterinarians.

Since implementing the Community Cat Program last year, the shelter’s intake of stray cats and kittens has gone down — a first in the shelter’s history, Detillier said.

Right now, the trap and release program is focusing on central and south Lafourche where the biggest problem exists.

“We consider (that area) a resource desert,” Adams said.

With only a handful of vets, there are thousands of non-spayed or non-neutered cats in that area, she said.

Some of those vets, as well as those in north Lafourche, are offering free spay and neuter events for the public to bring in their cats.

The parish’s voucher program also helps throughout the year, Adams said.

“The voucher program in Lafourche has been a godsend. This is just another push,” she said.

Over 300 cats were spayed or neutered last year through these programs, shelter officials said. To help their efforts, the shelter is asking the public to be aware of the program and do what they can to help control the cat population.

Not feeding stray cats that are not spayed or neutered is one big way to help, Detillier said.

“That will just add to the problem,” she said.

Cats that have been spayed or neutered and returned to what is called their “cat colony” tend to roam much less, Adams said.

The old solution of bringing cats to the shelter clearly wasn’t working, she said, as intake continued to rise to new levels every year.

“We can’t euthanize our way out of this problem,” Adams said.

She added that the trap, neuter and release program is a proven population control method throughout the country. The trap and release program is a decade-long process that will eventually reduce the cat population in Lafourche Parish, Detillier said.

Cities such as Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans that have been using the trap and release method have seen a big difference over time, Adams said.

“We’re so impressed with the community involvement, the business involvement and the public’s help,” Detillier said.

For information about the program, contact the Lafourche Animal Society at lafourcheanimals@gmail.com.

For information about adopting a cat or dog, call the shelter at 446-3532.

 

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaArenstam.