Gadsden City Council approves feral cat program

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By Sarrah Peters

News Editor

At the Gadsden City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, a new program was unanimously passed for the Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center.

“We’ve been looking at ways to decrease overpopulation in the area,” said Lisa Brackett, Shelter Manager.

The program focuses on feral cats. The cats will be humanely trapped, taken to be spayed or neutered and then released into a cat colony. 

However, Brackett said that the program could also help cats that aren’t completely feral.

Feral cats often face euthanasia in shelters, simply because they are not socialized to be comfortable around humans. However, the cats can become nuisances in the wild because they reproduce quickly and can carry diseases. The trap and release program should reduce these problems.

The city ordinance states that the purpose for the ordinance is “reducing the population of feral cats, benefitting public health and welfare and ensuring the humane treatment of feral cats.”

The Humane Society has partnered with the Alabama Spay and Neuter Group in Birmingham to provide the procedure for low cost at only $20 to neuter a male cat and $30 to spay a female cat. The group will pick-up the animals from Gadsden, and after the surgery and recovery, return them to Gadsden.The program also provides the cats with a rabies shot.

After the cats recover they will be released into cat colonies. Cat colonies will be maintained by caretakers, who keep track of the numbers of cats and kittens. They will provide food and water for the animals and make sure that the cats stay in good health. They also have a responsibility to try to find homes for the kittens in the colonies, as the younger cats can often be socialized.

With time, the cat colonies should stabilize. Spaying and neutering cats causes them to become healthier and gain weight. The cats also fight less after neutering, reducing the amount of injuries.

These cat colonies can provide benefits to the community, as well.

“These cats do what cats do outside,”  said Brackett. “They keep down rats and mice.”

The ordinance also reduced the number of days animals are held before they are put up for adoption. The old regulations made the shelter hold the animals for seven days, but now the animals will only be held for five days.

For more information on the trap and release program or to volunteer with the Humane Society, call 256-442-1347 or visit them at www.hsprac.com.

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