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Feral cat program gets underway in Bremerton
Starting this month, Kitsap Humane Society is launching a Community Cats Program in greater Bremerton to humanely stabilize and reduce the city’s free-roaming, feral cat population. The program is primarily funded by a generous grant from PetSmart Charities®.
Benefits of the program include fewer births, reduction of nuisance complaints by residents, alleviation of public health concerns and conservation of animal control efforts, according to Kelly Michaels, spokeswoman for the society.
KHS will use a method known as Trap, Neuter/Spay and Return (TNR) to locate and trap feral cats. Using humane box traps, KHS will capture the feral cats and take them to the shelter, where they will be medically evaluated. Healthy cats will be spayed/neutered and vaccinated against rabies. After a short recuperation period, cats will be returned to the neighborhoods from which they came. TNR is a proven method of stopping the cycle of unwanted litters and keeping the community’s cat problem to a minimum. Simply trapping and removing all feral cats does not solve the problem; as soon as an established resource is available, more cats will move in to claim the territory. TNR is an effective, humane method of controlling outdoor cat populations that ensures cats within an established territory are altered. “Over the past several years, we have seen an explosion of stray cats and kittens being brought into Kitsap Humane Society from the Bremerton area, with many of them being feral cats,” said Dr. Jen Stonequist, director of shelter medicine for KHS. “Based on un-owned cat estimates by population density, Bremerton is home to approximately 1,100 feral cats.
"Because cats breed prolifically, their numbers are continually increasing. KHS’ goal is to reduce the number of feral cats in Bremerton by spaying and neutering approximately 600 cats over the next 12 months.”
Efforts will be coordinated based on the cats’ feeding habits and surgery availability. Before setting traps, KHS will obtain permission from property owners and will notify neighbors within one-quarter mile of the trapping area. Every effort will be made to avoid the trapping of owned cats and to encourage community cooperation. Any obviously-owned animal will be immediately released. Funded by a PetSmart Charities® spay/neuter grant, the Community Cats Program is being coordinated by a local TNR expert contracted by KHS in collaboration with KHS staff veterinarians. KHS will also work with volunteers, local spay/neuter groups and community cat caretakers.
Reports will be compiled quarterly and will be available upon request. Data will include information on free-roaming cats that have been trapped, neutered and released by location. More information about KHS’ Community Cats Program is available at kitsap-humane.org/community-cats, or by calling Coordinator Tara Trezona at 253-237-2214.
Kitsap Humane Society is a non-profit charitable organization that has been caring for animals in need since 1908. KHS’ vision is that every adoptable companion animal has a home. The staff and volunteers work toward this goal seven days a week through the immediate care and sheltering of thousands of companion animals, who are homeless, lost, ill and in need of an advocate.
For more information, visit www.kitsap-humane.org.