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Community effort helps cats

Date: 3/26/2012

March 26, 2012

In recent weeks, there have been several articles regarding feral cats in area towns. Feral cat colonies are nothing new. They often begin with the abandonment of unneutered household pets left to fend for themselves. In a relatively short time, two or three cats multiply exponentially. With each generation, their socialability with humans diminishes. Not so many years ago, the solution to a feral cat problem was to round up these cats for euthanasia. The downfall with that solution: the "problem" wasn't remedied at all. Nature abhors a vacuum and soon new cats moved in to replace those that had been removed.

A new way of addressing feral cats came with Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) programs. It was demonstrated that spaying/neutering the colony prevented new litters from being born, minimized quality of life concerns of residents (strong male cat urine, fighting, yowling and mating cats), and — because cats are territorial — maintaining the colony detered new cats from moving in. Over time, colonies dissipated as cats died off. This proved to be a creative, effective, and humane solution.

Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society is here to help communities dealing with feral cat colonies. And every community has them. Sometimes they are hidden; sometimes more visible as in the case of a recent colony posing a concern in Longmeadow. Caring Longmeadow residents; town officials including the Town's animal control officer; Debra LaBruzzo, a tireless volunteer with the Homeless Cat Project; and Dakin's Community Spay/Neuter Clinic all partnered to humanely handle a community problem involving animals that had initially been shortchanged by humans.

We applaud everyone involved for their efforts to work together to find a humane solution to a community concern.

Candy Lash

Director of Community & Media Relations

Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society

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