TROY — There’s a new organization in town aiming to cut down on the cat population in the city of Troy, one kitty at a time.
The Cat Advocates of Troy, founded by Troy resident Felicia Watson, began to Trap, Neuter and Return — also known as TNR — in June 2016.
Watson said she saw the need literally right outside her apartment window, where several cats live in the flowers beds of her complex. Not finding any groups that offered TNR in Troy, she reached out to Tiffany Pontius of Purrs in Piqua, who helped Watson jump-start her own non-profit. Purrs of Piqua, which offers the same TNR services, funded Watson’s first six cats to be neutered and loaned Watson several of the non-harmful traps the cats are caught in to be transported.
To date, Watson, who now has a director and secretary, Brandi Adams of Piqua, on board, has neutered almost 70 feral, stray or loosely owned cats from areas throughout Troy.
Both said their love of animals propel them to continue their work — even trapping through the winter, unlike many other organizations.
“My life revolves around animals,” said Watson, who is employed at His Hands Extended Sanctuary/Clinic in St. Paris. “Even as a kid, I didn’t play with Barbies or baby dolls. It was always stuffed animals.”
Adams, who said she was raised around animals, agrees.
“I just love animals, and will do just about anything for them,” Adams said.
Watson, who has four cats and one dog of her own, said many of the people who contact the organization are feeders, who provide food and water to cats, but don’t allow them in their home. Watson said sometimes the callers can pay — or help pay — for the cats to be neutered, and sometimes Cat Advocates of Troy pays the entire bill.
Adams said after someone reaches out to them, they first make a visit and evaluate the cat colony. Following the person signing a consent form for cats to be trapped, Cat Advocates volunteers trap the cats, bringing them to His Hands Extended Sanctuary to be neutered by the center’s staff. Watson said the fee for neutering at His Hands is $31 f0r males, and $51 for females to be spayed. This includes a rabies vaccine, ear tipping for identifying neutered cats and ear mite treatment, which most homeless cats need, she said. Staff at the sanctuary also will examine the animal and treat them for other issues if necessary, Watson said. The cats will then be returned to where they were trapped.
Watson said she found an overwhelming statistic that shows exactly why a program such as Cat Advocates is needed. She said according to a national organization called Alley Cat Allies, two cats that have not been neutered can lead to 11 million cats after nine years if the population has not been controlled.
Watson said cats can begin reproducing as early as 4 months of age and can begin to be neutered at 2 pounds.
Watson said the “catch and kill” theory does not work, as new cats will come into colonies as other cats are removed. If they are all neutered, that changes everything, she said.
“If you fix an entire colony of cats, no new cats will come. There’s no breeding for them, so there’s no reason for them to come,” said Watson, who said she and Adams attend events to educate people about TNR.
There are also health benefits to neutering, including the prevention of urinary infections, cancers and birth complications, said Adams, who also has cats and dogs of her own.
She also said statistics show that more than 70 percent of cats taken into shelters are euthanized; for feral cats, that number climbs to nearly 100 percent. Releasing the cats back into their colonies after neutering is a manageable lifestyle for most cats, Adams said.
“They just need to be fed, have water and some sort of shelter,” said Adams, who said she and Watson also make shelters for stray cats to find shelter. “They are like any other animal.”
Cat Advocates of Troy is funded by private and business donations and through fundraisers such as dog washes and dine-to-donate events, according to Adams. She said donations of wet cat food also are appreciated, as it can take two to three cans of wet cat food to trap just one cat at times.
To contact Cat Advocates of Troy, call them at (937) 524-5106, visit them on Facebook or email them at [email protected] To make a donation, send it to P.O. Box 102, Troy, OH 45373 or donate via the organization’s PayPal account at [email protected]
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131