Marilyn Lighthizer holds a kitten Saturday while she greets customers at the annual Humane Society of Moffat County's garage sale. The kitten was brought into the Humane Society as a feral cat, but it eventually was tamed.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Marilyn Lighthizer holds a kitten Saturday while she greets customers at the annual Humane Society of Moffat County's garage sale. The kitten was brought into the Humane Society as a feral cat, but it eventually was tamed.

Humane Society preparing to launch program to control feral cats

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Two customers at the Humane Society of Moffat County's garage sale look at items for sale Saturday on the east side of Craig. The event was a fundraiser for the Humane Society, and money went to the general fund, which pays for the spaying and neutering of pets that are relocated.

If you go

What: Community meeting for Humane Society of Moffat County's Trap, Neuter, Release program

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Golden Cavvy Restaurant, 538 Yampa Ave.

• For more information, call Heather Lorio at 824-5438. The group welcomes anyone who wants to humanely address the local feral cat population.

Wild cats don't always recover, but once in a while, it's possible.

"Sometimes they come around after a few days," said Ann Anderson, vice president for the Humane Society of Moffat County.

"But it's extremely rare," Humane Society volunteer, Heather Lorio added.

One of those rare cases was the star at Friday and Saturday's annual garage sale fundraiser in Craig for the Humane Society.

A kitten not yet named was comfortably purring and napping in Marilyn Lighthizer's arms. Lighthizer is also a Humane Society volunteer.

About four days earlier, Lorio had taken the kitten to the Humane Society along with nine other kittens. Three of them were considered too feral and were going to be put down because veterinarians could not get close enough to examine and care for them.

But one made a turn around that saved his life.

"When I saw him and recognized that it was him, my heart just skipped," Lorio said. "I was so amazed."

In August, the Humane Society is planning to launch a Trap, Neuter, Release program with the goal of controlling populations of feral cats in Craig. A feral cat is a cat that has become wild.

Oftentimes, they run in packs to improve chances of survival.

Lorio said the problem has become a big one in the area, and she hopes people will attend a meeting Thursday at the Golden Cavvy Restaurant, 538 Yampa Ave., to support the program.

"We really are overwhelmed with stray and feral kittens," Lorio said.

Organizers plan to start by trapping three or five cats a week but hope with increased support the program will grow.

Once the cats are caught, the Humane Society will administer vaccines to all of them and neuter the males. To tag them before release, a corner of their ear will be clipped.

Lorio stressed that releasing them is the best option because feral cats usually don't become domesticated and can't be adopted.

The garage sale fundraiser raised about $900 during Friday and Saturday.

The money will go to a general fund that helps pay for neutering and spaying animals that don't get adopted so they can be transferred to another shelter.

Comments

als362 5 years, 4 months ago

Wild cats should be put down. They are a menace to the health and well being of our society. Spending more money to try and save something that is not wanted or needed is just a waste.

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JAHM 5 years, 4 months ago

I think this is a great program. Its not the animals fault that it was not cared for and just left to fend for its self! It was the person who bought, or adopted the cat. I think what needs to happen is that these people who refuse to or can't afford to have their animals fixed should have them taken away! IF YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR ANIMAL FIXED THEN YOU SHOULDN'T OWN ONE!!! its honestly the people of craig who are creating this cat problem!! so why should the cats have to suffer because the person buying them does not know how or can't properly take care of them or afford to take care of them. It's really simple! don't get an animal if you CAN'T afford to have it fixed and taken care of properly!! all the HS is trying to do is give these animals that were just abandoned a chance, and what harm is going to come out of getting these wild cats fixed? nothing that I can see on a breeding level! its going to slowly put a stop to wild cats multiplying.

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Colette Erickson 5 years, 4 months ago

Extensive research and the implementation of large-scale programs in other states and large urban areas has shown that the best way to handle feral cat populations is to trap/spay/neuter/release, as proposed by the Humane Society. This way, the neutered cats remain in the home territory and it is not taken over by new, un-neutered, populations of feral cats, which will then continue to reproduce and perpetuate the problem. Simply killing the traped cats does not solve the problem.

And yes, the root and heart of the problem is folks who do not spay/neuter. It should be a crime to not spay/neuter, and to breed dogs and cats for sale. Adopt! Even if you want a purebred animal, there are rescues for every breed, and purebreds show up at shelters regularly.

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David Moore 5 years, 4 months ago

Anyone from the Humane Society, or any reader that knows someone there that might tell them about this, can contact me at the hospital regarding unused or expired surgical supplies...suture, draping, etc.. I will gladly donate these clean items to help defray the costs entailed by this program...provided it is done locally. I cannot help if it is done elsewhere outside Moffat County. This is a great way to begin control of feral cat overpopulation and is more of a humane approach that just outright gunning them down. Contact me Tues-Fri, 0700 till' the job is done.

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with JAHM to a point. I agree that it is the owners fault that these pets are running free. But I would rather reduce the population quicker than the way that is proposed here. To me the quickest way is to eliminate these wild cats immediately.

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JAHM 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes but eliminating them is not helping the problem any. All its doing is creating a temporary fix to the problem. People are still going to abandon their cats. So you wipe out the population we have now of wild un fixed cats it wil be okay for a while until the new abandon unfixed ones come in. So i guess this could go either way, but I see less of an over population problem out of this if you TNR than just wipe them out and let the process start all over again. if you do the TNR program there are going to be less cats that will be able to reproduce when new ones come in as aposed to eliminating them all and starting over with a whole new group of unfixed cats.

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GreyStone 5 years, 4 months ago

Humane Society plans to only neuter the males which in my opinion will not slow the population expansion of these so called feral cats as each female cat only needs one male cat to become pregnant and give birth to six or seven more cats. That one male cat can impregnate ten or twelve females each day before he is neutered.

Some people let their male cats run at night, so, does the Humane Society plan to neuter male cats that people let run wild at night ???? The Humane Society has identified a real problem, but is just wasting their time.

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

I believe the best soultion for managing these feral cats is to inject them with a small ammout of lead at high speed. This method insures that the animal will NEVER breed another feral cat. It is also the least expensive of all the options I have heard in the past few weeks. A law allowing me the ability to protect my property from these unwanted, uncared for pets, would do a lot more towards getting rid of these pets than the Moffat County Humane Society could or will ever do.

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JAHM 5 years, 4 months ago

It is less costly to have a male cat fixed than it is a female cat fixed. So if this is how the humane society is choosing to deal with the situation, and it is such an issue to a lot of craigs residents then why don't we all start donating more to the HS so that they can afford to not only fix the male cats but the females as well??? I Know it seems so much more easy to just put them down but thats not what the HS is around for. Its here to help all the abandon, abused, wild ect ect. animals around craig. So if they are the only ones who are choosing to step forward and address the problem I think we need to not complain. These are people who are willingly taking time out of their lives with no pay to try to address this problem. I think this is pretty outstanding of these people to care so much to do something like this for not only the animals of our community but the people of our community as well. So until someone else steps up to the plate and has a better plan lets try and be as postive and helpful to these people who don't get PAID and are taking the time out of their lives and away from their families to raise the money to try and fix this problem the best they can.

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

To JAHM; I am VERY willing to step forward and help control this problem, I just don't want to go to jail doing it. I see no future in wasting money performing operations on animals that no one wants then turning them loose to continue destroying mine and others properties. I also am willing to address this problem for no pay. I have stepped up to the plate with a cheaper and much more permanent solution to these wild cats. Its just doesn't seem to suit the nicey nice people that think this will go away with just a few people fighting it. Which it will not. This problem will take everyone working together to eliminate it. I for one am very willing to pitch in and do my part, as long as I can do it my way. If you don't like my way, TOO BAD.

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JAHM 5 years, 4 months ago

the only problem that would arise handling it your way als362 is when you or someone else happens to kill someones house pet and that someone does you or someone else some serious harm for killing their pet then not only do you have a wild animal problem to deal with we may have some serious and dangerous problems with the people in the community as well. Im not saying that i like the fact that all these cats are running around. It breaks my heart that people get animals and then can't take care of them it really does, But handling it your way is going to do nothing but cause more problems! Now I know that one of the woman in that artical said its hard to get wild cats to come around, but maybe if more people could come in and help the HS with spending more time with these animals they may be able to get more to come around and get more fixed and adopted out. I know all together this is not the ultimate fix to this problem but once again at least these people are trying to not only fix the problem as best they can, but give these animals a fighting chance. It was not their fault that they ended up this way its the people that decided after they got them that they could not or did not care! so instead of euthenizing the cats why dont we just euthenize the people who can't or don't care who get an animal anyway?

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Dakota 5 years, 4 months ago

To als362 and any one else who does not fully understand this whole stray and feral cat issue: Putting the cats down is not an option until the people of the community stop being lazy and start taking care of their pets and their environment. Stop abandoning your cats, don't leave food, shelter, and water around for them to live off of, have your cats spayed or neutered if they have any chance at all that they might get out of the house. So you take care of the cats your way, what are you going to do when they come back? Because they will! Why are they coming on your property and not some one else's? Because they are finding food, shelter, and water there. You may not think they do but if your place is not "clean" then that is where they are going to go. But hey, lets just keep blaming the cats for our neglect of them and the issue. Not all of the humane society members are tree huggers and bleeding hearts, but a few of them are well educated and have done their research on this issue and this program. I would rather see the money being "wasted" on these cats then wasted on human beings who can't even use common since to realize why these cats are here in the first place and fix that problem, themselves. Do you really think the ground just opened up and poof they were here? I guess it is easier to just pull the trigger on some buck shot them to put effort into talking to yourself or your neighbor about the real issue.

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WileyWapiti 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree in part with 3canines above..."the best way to handle feral cat populations is to trap/spay/neuter/release". But on the other hand I also agree with als362 and taking other measures.

I only say this because once my grandfather passed away, my grandmother started colloecting or taking in cats. We worked very hard over the years to work with county entities (not in this county or state) to rid her property of these vermine - we tried all means, and I mean all means(save claymores and other explosives)....more cats would still show up until the day she died this was a huge problem. Her mental state was such that she would spend all of her money to feed and fix these animals - it was very sad. When we went to clean her house, these ferral cats had infested the attic, crawl spaces, portions of the house and also the out buildings. After 2 days of working in this house - my father and I burned all of our clothes used for that task - even the shoes!

So I am very interested in this thread to see what resolutions are settled on and I hope nobody ever has to go through what we did with my grandmother - it was absolutely disgusting

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

To Dakota: I do understand the feral cat issue, I have been putting up with them for years, so I know I have a grasp on the problem. And NO, I do not think the ground opened up and they just appeared. Irresponsible people caused the problem, but eliminating people is really frowned upon by the local police. Cats however I might be able to get away with. First off, there is no food or shelter on my property. And mine is one of the cleanest and best kept up in the area. Sorry I don't fit into your profile.
Reading your post, you make it sound as though I am wholly or partly responsible for this problem. That I am not! I do not, have never, and will never own a cat. So if you choose to point fingers do not point them at me! Wasting money trying to save an animal that has no social signifigance, is a total waste and should not even be considered. Individual property owners that have problems with these pests, should be allowed to deal with them in their own way. Just as they do with ants and weeds.
I think people that turn cats loose on purpose should be jailed for at least 7 days. Their sentence should be to catch cats for that period of time, the more they catch the sooner they get out. And yes I do think it is much quicker, cheaper, and just plain more efficient to just do away with them, than trying to talk any kind of sense into the slobbish fools that live near me. For all I know you may be one of them.

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Dakota 5 years, 4 months ago

Except for one very power veiw of the world, it seems that the HSMC has some great support for their programs. Keep up the good work guys.

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Dakota 5 years, 4 months ago

Except for one very poor veiw of the world, it seems that the HSMC has some great support for their programs. Keep up the good work guys.

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LarrySpalding 5 years, 4 months ago

When I was medivaced to the rear in Vietnam I adopted a dog. I let him run around for most of the week, but on Friday afternoons anyone who wanted to keep their pets had to keep them indoors, because the MP's would ride around ChuLai in their jeeps with 12 guage shotguns and would shoot any animal the saw running at large. That way they controlled the feral population of possibly rabid animals, that constituted a public health threat, and everone who had a pet that they loved, got to keep their animal and not risk it being shot by accident.

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Spalding's comment makes perfect sense to me, and it is what I have been saying all along. Keep pets on your own property or on a leash.

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als362 5 years, 4 months ago

According to some of the people that wrote posts here, these wild cats eat food left out by humans. So these cats are probably not hunting for other vermin as suggested, but eating out of garbage cans, food left for other pets, and food just left laying around. With that in mind, my solutuion looks better to me all the time. Short, sweet and to the point.

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slipknot 5 years, 4 months ago

The only problem with ALS362's solution is there has to be a limit or else the vermin that the feral cats control will start to overrun the community. Then you have a more serious problem, kinda like plague or other diseases carried by mice, rats, and ground squirrls, that cats eat and live on.

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slipknot 5 years, 4 months ago

You do have a valid point however, when my wife and I retired and left Craig we moved away from our small country home with a few hundred acres and several outbuildings inhabited by about 15 cats that my wife had started with as house cats but had eventually moved themselves to the main barn, where in due course they stopped coming to the house for meals of 'store bought' cat food and enhanced their skills and saved us money at the same time by reducing the local rodent population. When the local population grew over 15 and unfriendly to the point where they wouldn't come for special treats or to be petted, those were quickly and very quietly dispatched with the help of Mr. Ruger 10-22WMR. This culling took place about every 8 months. Sometimes when one of the originals got sick the same medicine was administered. Coyotes got their share and cars and trucks got their share. Uncaring humans added to the problem by dropping off cats and kittens that were unwanted in town. Females were welcomed as new breeding stock but they faced the same culling process. We eventually stopped buying food in the spring and summer because we were feeding skunks, raccoons, magpies, and crows. Winter was a different story however. All the cats were fed in the barn we kept no more than 15, that we knew of. When we sold out and moved we gave the new owners the option of keeping the cats or having us take care of them. They opted to keep them. I only hope that they were as responsible as my wife in taking care of her pets.

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