Diane Slater and Alannah Duffy are part of a group of volunteers in Golden who are trying to tackle the problem of feral cats in the area. Thanks to the Columbia Basin Trust the group is now implementing a new program to lower the number of cats in a humane way.
“Just recently we applied out for a grant from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) initiative grant under the name of Little Mitten’s Animal Rescue Association. This was for a Trap-Neuter-Return project (TNR). It is a feral management program that is really the only effective program in controlling feral cat numbers in communities,” Slater said.
She went on to explain the program has been in use in different areas for about 30 years with success where it has been used.
Currently the two lead volunteers have been looking after a number of kittens in the hopes of rehabilitating them to be adopted in the future.
The group has been receiving a number of calls from local residents who report or have kittens on their property.
“We have spent a great deal of time looking after these kittens. We vaccinate, spay or neuter and look after them the best we can,” Slater said.
One issue that stems from feral cats in Slater’s opinion is people do not realize there is a problem until they are everywhere.
In the long run the older cats which are caught get spayed or neutered and then returned to the colony with a hope that over time the numbers will drop off in a natural way.
“That is a central concept of TNR. The cats that exist in these colonies are there for a reason. The reason is food. If these cats were to be removed more cats would move in. So you would start at base one, a kitten population which can’t be controlled,” Slater said.
“TNR is a humane way to deal with the problem,” Duffy added.
Slater said that if the group could trap 70 percent of the feral cats it would remove almost all of the problems associated with the animals within a specific area.
The grant the group has received from CBT is specifically for the TNR program, not to help people spay or neuter their own cats.
“Some people have been calling us to spay their own animals and that is something we can’t do with this money,” Duffy said.
She went on and explained that the group was extremely grateful for the aid because without it the TNR program could not have happened.
Duffy and Slater also wanted to thank the volunteers who have been helping and the Cats to Cattle store in Golden who have been helping them since their inception.
Anyone interested in learning more about the group can call 250-290-0279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.